Door to Denmark open for Hooper
Saturday, 19 March, 2011
Stuart Pearce hands Celtic striker Under-21s chance.
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Watch England's next home game against Iceland in Preston on 28 March
As England Under-21s latest first-time call-up Gary Hooper prepares for the Scottish League Cup Final on Sunday, Coach Stuart Pearce has opened the door for a place in this summer's Euro 2011 squad.
The Celtic striker has been in fine form in his debut season north of the border, with 15 goals in 24 outings since his move from Scunthorpe United. And on Sunday hopes to line up against arch rivals Rangers at Hampden Park before heading south to join the Three Lions for his maiden meet-up.
Pearce's men take on Euro Finals hosts Denmark in Viborg on Thursday evening before another warm-up encounter with Iceland at Preston North End on Monday 28 March.
And for the Hoops' Loughton-born number 88, whose previous clubs were Grays Athletic and Southend United, the get-together represents a chance for him to impress the boss and maybe, says Pearce, earn a seat on the plane in June.
"Gary Hooper’s goalscoring record over a three-year period has made it impossible for me to ignore him," Pearce told TheFA.com "I’ve been up to Scotland to watch him and we’d had scouts go to see him too.
"If he gets the opportunity next week he needs to come and show me what he can do in training and show me what he can do on the pitch.
"It might just be a late charge that’s good enough to help him force his way into the squad for the Finals this summer."
And Pearce also had a similar message for Bolton Wanderers' Mark Davies. The midfielder has been involved with the Under-21s in the past, but is yet to make his debut. These two games will provide him with a chance to make an impact on Pearce's squad selection.
"Mark has played a lot of matches this season and his form has been very good. Every time we’ve watched him he’s played well and only injury prevented him from getting his first cap for us last time out in Italy.
"The door is never shut on any player, and I even say that about someone yet to figure in the squad."
He added: "Four or five lads who hadn’t figured in the qualifiers came through and earned their place in the squad for the Finals two years ago. Form will dictate my selection come June."
Tickets for England's game at Deepdale against Iceland on Monday 28 March are available online for just £5 for kids and £10 for adults. Visit www.MyPNE.com