You know the story: Celtic sign an English player; players exceeds expectations; countless support for an international call up etc, etc.
Gary Hooper is the latest to don the “hard done by” status of an English footaballer playing in Scotland. Chris Sutton and Alan Thompson have also had their international careers questioned by the Celtic community.
For Hooper, there is without shadow of a doubt that his step backwards to the lower leagues has been a step forwards. His reverse into lower league football has turned out to be a career boosting experience.
Since his arrival at Celtic his game has gone from strength to strength. Both domestic and Eureopean frontiers have been conquered by Hooper.
He has of course been called up for the under 21 England side but pulled out due to injury. Since then there have been a number of occasions where his inclusion at senior level have been overlooked.
There is no doubt in my mind that Hooper could do the damage for England. There are a fair few options for Hodgson but he isn’t considering Hooper.
But, who are we to tell England who to pick? They picked Alan Thompson (once) and he had a poor 45 minutes (through no fault of his own). Do you think they hold a grudge?
Chris Sutton ceratinly held a grudge against Glenn Hoddle when he was England manager. This of course was long before he became a Celtic player but he never played for England ever again after his only senior cap.
At the time he was a Blackburn player, a very successful time in his career. And much like his Celtic career, he was overlooked most of the time.
Conclusion? Well call me cyncial, but Hooper’s/Celtic’s decision not to agree to a transfer south of the border may have a bearing on this recent omission.
You would think that on an occasion such as this (a friendly), old “Woy” might have used the match to test out the striker. It would seem that he has other options – despite a lack of strikers for the game!
I would like to give Hodgson the benefit of the doubt, but unless it was Neil Lennon who warned him off this time, Gary Hooper is off the radar for England.