Saturday, October 20, 2012

Celtic Manager Rubbishes Hooper & Liverpool Link

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has rubbished suggestions that star striker Gary Hooper has had his head turned by Liverpool.

Contract talks between the Glasgow giants and Hooper have temporarily stalled, as interest emanating from south of the border grows. The former Scunthorpe United striker has been in remarkable form this season and ever since his arrival at Celtic Park, which has reportedly brought Liverpool into the equation.

The news that Fabio Borini will be sidelined for at least three months due to a fractured ankle has heightened Liverpool’s need to recruit another forward, and 24-year-old Hooper is a name that has immediately been linked. Lennon, however, has been quickly dismissive of the striker, in addition to goalkeeper Fraser Forster, leaving Celtic Park.

"It is speculation," Lennon said, BBC Sport report. "It wouldn't surprise me if there are a number of clubs in for Gary because of the way he is but I would poo-poo the Liverpool link.

"We are still in negotiations at the minute and I don't think we are too far away. There will be interest in them (Hooper and Forster) but they are not going anywhere.

"Fraser has signed a new contract and hopefully we are close to getting Gary's signature. If there are offers coming in, they will have to meet our valuation.”

Both Hooper and Forster left Newcastle United and Scunthorpe United respectively to find great success in the Scottish Premier League. Forster received his first England call up for World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland, while Hooper’s continued exclusion from Roy Hodgson’s squad has left his club manager perplexed.

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