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Gary Hooper

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Norwich Career: 2013-16 (70 appearances, 20 goals)
Current Club: Sheffield Wednesday
Date of Birth: 26/1/1988 (Harlow) 
Nationality: English

Biography

Norwich City finally got their man when Gary Hooper signed for them on 26th July 2013, for an undisclosed fee rumoured to be £5.5million. He signed a three year contract. Norwich had first bid for him during the January 2013 transfer window.

Hooper joined the Tottenham Hotspur youth team at the age of seven. When he was 14 he played 20 minutes of a trial game and was then released by the club. After this he had trials with Northampton Town and Luton Town. These proved unsuccessful and he started playing non-league football with Maldon Town before being signed in the 2003/4 season by Conference side Grays Athletic.

He helped them win the Conference South title in 2004/5 scoring 12 goals. He started for Grays in the 2004–05 FA Trophy Final against Hucknall Town, but was substituted towards the end of extra-time. The match went to penalties and Grays won the shoot-out 6–5. The following season in the Conference, he scored eight times in 40 league appearances but was released at the end of the season.

In July 2006, after his release by Grays, Hooper went on two trials. Firstly to League Two side Barnet, then to Championship club Southend United, where he was given a one-year contract by manager Steve Tilson the following month. He made 18 appearances in the Championship with Southend but on 15th March, Hooper joined League One side Leyton Orient on loan for the rest of the season.

Hooper made 18 appearances in League One for Southend during the first half of the 2007–08 season, scoring twice. On 28th January 2008, Hooper signed a new 18-month contract to extend his stay with the club. He then moved on loan to League Two club Hereford United.

At the start of the 2008–09 season. Hooper, along with three other strikers, was listed for transfer as Tilson looked to re-build his attack. Hereford had a bid accepted for Hooper after his successful loan spell, but could not afford to match the larger transfer fees offered by other teams. Cheltenham Town had a bid accepted but Hooper eventually decided to move to Scunthorpe United. The fee was £125,000, rising to £175,000. He had scored four goals in 44 appearances for Southend.

He scored 30 goals in all competitions throughout the 2008–09 season and was Scunthorpe's Player of the Season. QPR had a £1million bid rejected whilst Coventry were also interested. He scored 20 goals in 39 appearances in all competitions in the 2009–10 season, including 19 in 35 in the league, where he finished as third-top goal scorer

On 26th July 2010, Scottish Premier League club Celtic signed Hooper for £2.4 million. He had made 95 appearances for Scunthorpe, scoring 50 goals. On 4th August 2010, Hooper scored on his debut for the club, against Portuguese Primeira Liga club Braga in the Champions League third qualifying round. He went on to make 138 appearances for Celtic, scoring 82 goals and finished leading scorer in the Scottish Premier League in 2011/12. He won two Scottish Premier League titles and the Scottish Cup twice.

He made his first appearance for Norwich in a 1-1 friendly draw at Brighton on 30th July 2013 before scoring a brace against Braga in a friendly on 2nd August 2013. Injured in a pre-season friendly against Panathinaikos, he did make his full City Debut until he came on as a substitute in the 1-0 home defeat to Aston Villa on 21st September 2013. Hooper got his first Norwich start on Tuesday 24th September away to Watford in the Capital One Cup and scored twice in a 3-2 win for Norwich.

He made 33 appearances, scoring eight goals in the 2013/14 season in which Norwich were relegated from the Premier League. At the end of the season, it was reported that he wanted to leave Norwich with QPR quickly linked with him. Transfer speculation at the end of August 2014 saw Hooper linked with QPR, West Ham and Crystal Palace even though he had not played in the Championship for Norwich due to injury.

In October 2014, Hooper was linked with a loan move to Bolton now managed by his former Celtic boss Neil Lennon.

Hooper scored his first hat-trick for Norwich in the 4-0 home win against Blackpool on 7th February 2015. He ended the season with 12 goals in 34 appearances as City won promotion back to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs.

He was linked throughout August 2015 with moves to Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham, reportedly having a medical at Fulham on transfer deadline day (1st September) but the move was not completed as Norwich hadn't secured an alternative striker. On 27th October 2015, he was loaned to Sheffield Wednesday until January 2016 as he was fifth choice striker in Alex Neil's plans. He scored six goals in 12 appearances on loan. Soon after his return to Carrow Road, he joined Wednesday on 22nd January on a three and a half year deal for an undisclosed fee.

Earlier in his career, he was included in the England Under-21 squad but had to pull out.


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