Perhaps Gary Hooper was right to feel that he would only have a chance of being called up to the England international squad if he made his move to the English Premiership, regardless of which team he ended up with in that prestigious league.
My view is that he is unlikely to achieve that ambition with Norwich; it is more likely that he will need to work another move after this one. As Chris Sutton recently pointed out, Hooper’s excellent scoring record at Celtic was partly due to the way the team plays and the number of scoring opportunities presented to him.
To join a team that may be more regularly geared towards not conceding too many goals, rather than a team that is expected to win every game, could result in Hooper scoring considerably less for Norwich than he has done at Celtic. The upshot is that he may appear to be not quite good enough for the international squad. Time will tell.
In the meantime, Neil Lennon recently commented that Gary Hooper was the best striker at Celtic since Henrik Larsson. High praise indeed! Whilst Hooper has certainly been an excellent striker for Celtic over the past three seasons, and probably the most consistent we have had for a number of years, I am sure Lennon did not intend to suggest that Hooper was on a par with Larsson.
Perhaps if Celtic’s transfer market policy hadn’t been such as it is, Hooper may not have come to the club with the intention of working his move to the Premiership within a couple of years; and perhaps if he had stuck around at Celtic for a few more years he may have developed even further towards the level of performance Larsson achieved with ease.
After all, the Henrik Larsson who arrived at Celtic Park was nowhere near as brilliant as the Henrik Larsson who left seven years later to join Barcelona. But given Celtic’s current approach to the transfer market, and the Premiership expectations it sets in the minds of the very good players we pick up and develop to sell, it may well be that we never actually see a striker of Larsson’s calibre again.