Celtic star Hooper would excel in Serie A, says Conte

The Old Lady manager has praised the talisman ahead of the crucial Champions League last-16 clash, but insists there is more to the Hoops than their sought-after striker

Juventus boss Antonio Conte believes Celtic striker Gary Hooper is wasting his talent in Scotland and would "excel" in Serie A.

The Scottish and Italian champions are set to meet in the Champions League last-16 first leg on Tuesday, with the former Scunthorpe forward viewed as the Bhoys’ brightest talent.

And Conte believes Hooper, who has netted 23 goals in 34 outings this term, would be better served plying his trade in Italy.

"Hooper up front is a player who, with the greatest of respect to Scotland, could excel in our championship in Italy.” the Juventus boss is quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.

"He is a very fast player, who attacks the spaces very well and is a good finisher."

Conte, however, believes there is more to Celtic than just Hooper, insisting the likes of fellow striker Georgios Samaras and midfielder Victor Wanyama are equally dangerous.

He continued: "Celtic has good players throughout the team and the heart and soul seems to be Scott Brown. Alongside him is Victor Wanyama, who, as well as being technically good, has an impressive physique.

"Georgios Samaras attacks the spaces very well and is another who has an imposing physique, as well as being technical. I like Kelvin Wilson, and the goalkeeper Fraser Forster, who is a very young player with a very good future."

After scouting the opposition, Conte believes the Hoops hold a "clear physical threat" to his charges, highlighting their proficiency at set-pieces as a must for his players to focus on.

"We have looked at Celtic very closely," he continued. "We have seen they have a clear physical threat and the average height of their players is probably above the norm.

"They are very good at set plays, but that is not their only threat and we have to be very careful. It’s not a surprise because British football has always been strong on set-pieces but, as I said, Celtic have other threats, too.

"Celtic are not unknown to us and we have certainly not underestimated them. I said before they have not just played well in the SPL as not many teams could beat Barcelona at home and lose just narrowly to them away from home."