Neil Lennon believes the Englishman is good enough to represent the Three Lions and the Hoops take on Motherwell on Saturday afternoonDIGEST
By Martin Macdonald
|LENNON: HOOPER DESERVES ENGLAND CALL
Celtic manager Neil Lennon has spoken of his belief that Hoops striker Gary Hooper fully deserves a call up to the England national side.
The Northern Irish boss watched the Englishman net a fantastic four-goal haul in his last match against Raith Rovers, and that, along with his general standard of play, has prompted the Celtic manager to urge Roy Hodgson to take a chance on the 24-year-old.
Speaking after the win on Wednesday, he said: “He thrives on goals, obviously, but his link-up play is fantastic and he is developing very well. He has led the line brilliantly for us this season and I think he is good enough to play for England."
"In Hooper, we have a phenomenal player, not just his goals, but his play in general was of a very high standard. If you look at his record, he does score a lot of goals and it is the hardest thing to do - and he scores in the big games.”
Lennon also provided an injury update for his squad with the vital Champions League match against Spartak Moscow on the horizon, and it looks like good news for Hoops fans as both Joe Ledey and Beram Kayal returned to action against Raith.
He said: “It was always the plan to give Beram an hour and give Joe half an hour, so thankfully they came through that unscathed and will be fit for the weekend.
"Lassad and Miku will be fit as well and Georgios [Samaras] isn't far away either, so we are almost at a full quota coming in to a big stretch of games."
|LENNON HOPEFUL OVER NEW DEALS
Neil Lennon has spoken of his desire for Celtic to extend the contracts of many of the team's top stars sooner rather than later.
Talks are currently ongoing with James Forrest, Gary Hooper, Adam Matthews, Charlie Mulgrew, Thomas Rogne and Victor Wanyama, and the Celtic manager believes that the level of performance from the group warrants improves and extended contracts.
Speaking to the media, he said: “Those players are all in talks at the minute with their respective parties. We're hoping to get over the line with all of them," said Lennon.
"The likes of Mulgrew, Wanyama, Matthews, Forrest and Hooper have played brilliantly for me and I want to reward them for that level of performance."
Welsh defender Adam Matthews has recently spoken out on his desire to receive a new deal from the Glasgow side, and has branded them a ‘massive’ club.
Speaking to journalists, he said: “The club has been great to me and I really enjoy being here, so if I am offered a new deal I will happily sign it, definitely.
"Every player wants to play in the Champions League but I think even without it Celtic are a massive club, so I am happy here.”
|NEXT MATCH: CELTS FACE TOUGH TRIP TO NORTH LANARKSHIRE
Celtic’s next match sees Neil Lennon’s side travel to North Lanarkshire to take on Motherwell at Fir Park in the Scottish Premier League.
Stuart McCall’s men find themselves unlikely leaders of the table at moment after taking 13 points from their first seven matches, two points ahead of the Hoops who are currently third in the table.
The Glasgow side’s last trip to Fir Park was an eventful fair to say the least, and will most be remembered by a terrific brace by youngster Tony Watt on his debut, a player now fully established in the Celtic first team squad.