Norwich City’s Gary Hooper can hold his own with Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney in the goal stakes

Norwich City striker Gary Hooper is a man in goalscoring form along with Manchester United's Wayne Rooney. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd Norwich City striker Gary Hooper is a man in goalscoring form along with Manchester United's Wayne Rooney. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Saturday, December 28, 2013
9:15 AM

Chris Hughton was quick to point out Wayne Rooney is not the only in-form striker on show this weekend at Carrow Road.

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Wayne Rooney took his tally to 13 goals for club and country this season with a thumping finish in Manchester United’s Boxing Day win over Hull but Norwich City’s prolific marksman Gary Hooper has struck five in eight ahead of a meeting between two of the finest English-bred top flight predators.

“Technically you always felt he would score goals at this level,” said Hughton. “The obvious answer as to why Gary is scoring goals right now is the fact he is playing games after his injury. Physically he is in very good shape and if he is and playing regularly then he is always likely to score, but he relies on service as well as creating something out of nothing as he has done with his last two goals.

“You only have to look at his CV and that tells you he is someone who has always scored goals and when you are that type of individual it really is whether you handle the next level. We mustn’t forget he played in some very big games for Celtic in recent seasons and I think that has helped him to adjust to how difficult and how strong the Premier League is.”

Hughton will not overlook the obvious latent threat posed by Rooney and David Moyes’ thoroughbreds.

“He is someone at the moment who I feel is back to his very best. He has been outstanding for them,” he said. “That is good news for Manchester United but also England. Is he is a special player? Yes, but we hope he doesn’t have one of his better days and it is up to us to make sure that doesn’t happen. They have picked up after a difficult start and that comes with a change of manager. I’m sure he went in there and had different ideas and there was a process where both the new manager and those players had to get used to each other.

“What doesn’t alter is they have top class players so it is no surprise they are picking up results. They are still in the title race for me and there are a few strong contenders. We know it is a big task. Manchester United have the quality and the squad to make changes but it is an opportunity for us to perform at home. It is a game that will lift the supporters.”

Concerns over the fitness of Jonny Howson allied to the on-going absence of Alex Tettey place even greater emphasis on the likes of Bradley Johnson and Leroy Fer in a key central midfield area. Moyes is a confirmed admirer of City’s Dutch international after trying to sign him while in charge at Everton 12 months ago, before a proposed deal fell through, but Hughton does not expect that to provide any extra motivation.

“I believe he tried to sign him at Everton and there was a big interest,” he said. “But he wanted to come here and overall Leroy has done well for us. We have been delighted. His game is adjusting from a technical game in Holland and we hope there is more to come from him. He is still 23 and when you go to another country at maybe 27 or 28 you bring vast experience. When he is on the back of maybe not one of his better performances he has shown in the next game he can get back to that level of performance. If I look at both him and Brad they were very good at Sunderland and we need that pair to get back to that high level.”

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11 comments

  • I do hope so. I've a feeling we'll need @ least 2 goals to get something from this game. Maybe more.

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    Timbo

    Saturday, December 28, 2013

  • The claims of C.H. are so lame,and insigniticant...its embarrassing !

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Saturday, December 28, 2013

  • That's right Chris. And Bassong's the new Puyol, I s'pose.

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    el dingo

    Saturday, December 28, 2013

  • A simple task for Hooper then, put your money where your mouth is and equal or better his scoring rate today.

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    TrevorKeith

    Saturday, December 28, 2013

  • can't be a good feel factor going into today's game. man utd on the up..norwich in trouble.

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    FINN.BLUE

    Saturday, December 28, 2013

  • Why is the City manager talking about Rooney? Is he preparing for another after match " Rue " ? CH has more " Rues" then the "Roos " in the Aussie outback. As for Hooper, he can score goals but he needs to be given opportunities and support by the mid field for example. If only the City had one. Well, today is a crucial game. After last weeks debacle it takes on even more significance. I am yet to see the " quality " players ,according to CH, perform for NCity.

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    stormy

    Saturday, December 28, 2013

  • That's right Chris. And Bassong's the new Puyol, I s'pose.

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Saturday, December 28, 2013

  • So hoopers got 5 or 6 lucky goals this season and his a prolific goal scorer please get real

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    Townman

    Saturday, December 28, 2013

  • Lets hope that Fer is played in his natural position. After the no-show against Fulham we will have to be at the very TOP of our game today. I am sure most people saw heard what happened after Hull took a 2-0 lead against Utd the other day.

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    Dubai Canary

    Saturday, December 28, 2013

  • I do enjoy a laugh and this story is more enjoyable than most.

    Report this comment

    KeithS

    Saturday, December 28, 2013

  • Please stop all these big hyp stories before games as we cannot deliver.

    Report this comment

    MichiganCanary

    Saturday, December 28, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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