Mjallby: England cap fits for goalden Bhoy Gaz

CELTIC assistant manager Johan Mjallby hopes Gary Hooper will get his chance to shine for England.

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Hooper has netted in Champions League
Hooper has netted in Champions League

The Hoops striker has been a revelation since making the switch to Paradise from Scunthorpe two years ago and is reported to be attracting the interest of Liverpool, Newcastle, Southampton and reigning Serie A champions Juventus.

Parkhead goalkeeper Fraser Forster has won international recognition this season after a string of impressive displays for Neil Lennon's side and Mjallby reckons Hooper is worthy of a cap call.

He said: "I certainly hope so. I think he deserves a chance. People on the outside and down in England are starting to notice him and starting to see that he is a player that can do it at the highest level.

"I certainly hope he has a chance and, if he keeps playing well for us, then why not?"

While the chance to wear the Three Lions would be a proud moment for Hooper, any call-up to Roy Hodgson's side would only increase interest in one of the Hoops' key men.

The striker has hit the net an impressive 64 times since clinching a £2.4million move to Glasgow and would land Celtic with a substantial profit should he depart for pasture's new.

The SPL leaders have offered their star striker a big-money contract in an attempt to keep him at the club for the long-term.

That deal has still not been sealed and Mjallby can understand why clubs are hovering over Hooper with a view to launching a bid.

He said: "I really don't know. I am not the right man to ask when it comes to that.

"Gary has still got 18 months left on his contract.

"We are delighted with him and obviously we want to keep him. I think Gary and his agent and the club are in discussions and fingers crossed from our point of view something is going to happen.

"No [it is not a distraction]. I don't think it is a distraction for Gary either.

"I think he has been playing really well lately. I can understand why other clubs are interested in him.

"To have a goalscorer in your team is always crucial and he has shown that he can do that at the highest level so I can understand where the interest is coming from.

"You need to ask Gary about what his targets are and what he is looking for.

"I think he is just enjoying playing football right now.

"He is in a good place, he enjoys the team spirit and that is something that is always important for you as a footballer.

"The grass is not always greener on the other side."


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