September 25, 2021

Kerala Blasters: Gary Hooper – Mumbai City look quite strong

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Gary Hooper is looking forward to going up against former teammates and familiar faces…

Kerala Blasters striker Gary Hooper is looking forward to the battle with former teammate and Odisha defender Steven Taylor in the seventh season of Indian Super League (ISL). 

The 2019-20 edition of the competition will kick off on November 20 as Kerala Blasters take on new entrants ATK Mohun Bagan behind closed doors in Goa. 

There was an exodus of players from A-League to ISL this summer and it included winger Anthony Pilkington and Steven Taylor. Hooper played with Pilkington for Norwich City during the 2013-14 season in the Premier League and holds him in high regard. 

“I played with Pilks (Pilkington) at Norwich. He is a good player, plays with the ball, he is quick and he scores goals,” Hooper told Goal .

He will also be facing off against Odisha’s Steven Taylor who was his teammate at his previous club Wellington Phoenix. Blasters will face Odisha on January 7. 

“The battle I am looking forward to will be against Steven Taylor, my old teammate.  We will be going up against each other,” Hooper said. 

Kerala Blasters have a good mix of foreign and Indian players and will be hoping to get into the playoffs for the first time in four years. While acknowledging Blasters’ strengths, Hooper also pointed out that Mumbai City could be a difficult opponent this season. 

The Islanders appointed Sergio Lobera as their head coach and have two lethal finishers – Bartholomew Ogbeche and Adam le Fondre – as their options upfront. 

Hooper opined, “I think Mumbai City look quite strong. They have got two good strikers. Adam le Fondre is a good finisher. We are very strong on paper, we just have to take it into the games. East Bengal is also looking good, playing good football, I think they will be up there as well. We don’t need to worry about anyone else, we just have to focus on our game.”

Blasters will just have to focus on the game when they take the pitch as fans won’t be allowed inside the stadium due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. 

“Fans get us going. It is up to the players to step up for the fans who are watching on TV to play good football and win the games,” said Hooper. who is raring to get going with a goal in the season opener on November 20.