Pierre Van Hooijdonk last night advised in-demand Celtic striker Gary Hooper not to go to England – unless he is guaranteed a game.
Hooper, in the final year of his contract at Celtic Park, is being chased by Norwich City and Hull City. The 25-year-old, who notched 31 goals last season including two in the Scottish Cup final win over Hibernian, was the subject of a series of bids from Norwich which were rejected back in January. The Canaries have revived their interest, and while Hooper is rated highly by ex-Celtic favourite Van Hooijdonk, the Dutchman would hate to see him head south for a place on the bench.
Van Hooijdonk said: “He has been a very good player for Celtic over the last couple of years. I always believe that going to England is a good move – as long as you play. If you’re not playing there’s no point. With any move you have to make sure you’re going to get a game. I watched Gary in the cup final and he did really well. He has been scoring a lot of important goals for Celtic. He’s a good player and would survive down south. For me, the first thing I’d look at if the chance of a move came up would be whether I’d be playing regularly. I wouldn’t want to be part of a rotation squad.”
Van Hooijdonk was back seeing old Parkhead team-mate Jackie McNamara yesterday and is convinced the former Scotland star can be a big success in his first full season in charge of Dundee United.
He said: “Jackie did really well with Partick Thistle so earned his chance at Dundee United. Everyone I have spoken to in Scotland said they played very good football, they played the proper way and that’s not easy to do in the First Division. Most people think it’s hard to get promotion from that league playing proper football. Jackie, Simon and Darren were not guys renowned for playing in an old-fashioned style as players so I can see why they love to get the ball down and play. I think they’ll be a success for Dundee United.”