Ledley tips Hooper for England honours

Gary Hooper
Gary Hooper has 60 goals in 99 appearances for Celtic. Photo: PA

Joe Ledley believes Celtic keeper Fraser Forster's call-up to the England squad is not before time and hopes it has opened the door for Gary Hooper to follow.

Roy Hodgson surprised some people today when he named the big Geordie in his 25-man pool for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland.

At Hampden Park today for the Scottish Communities League Cup quarter-final draw, where Celtic were handed a home tie against St Johnstone, Parkhead midfielder Ledley described his team mate's recruitment into the Three Lions squad as "deserved".

He also claimed that striker Hooper, who scored his seventh goal in four games in Celtic's 3-2 Champions League win against Spartak Moscow in Russia on Tuesday night, has every right to feel he could be next.

"It is fantastic for Fraser," said Ledley.

"He is a fantastic goalkeeper. I spoke to him this morning and he is obviously happy.

"He is crucial to Celtic. There is nothing better than having a good keeper behind you who is going to make the saves and keeps you in the game so we are happy for him.

"He saved us a lot last season and this season and I am sure he will show them what he can do.

"Hopefully (it will encourage Hooper), it would be nice for him to get a call-up as well.

"He is very close. I think he can do it, we all think he can.

"He has been one of our best players this season, and is scoring week-in, week-out.

"He proved himself the other night, he scored in the Champions League which is the best competition in the world.

"If he keeps doing what he is doing at the moment, scoring goals and playing well, then hopefully he can get his call-up.

"It will be difficult for him, England have some great strikers at the moment but if he keeps working hard you never know."

Fraser Forster
Fraser Forster has been called up for England's World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland. Credit: PA

Ledley was still basking in the glory of Celtic's first away victory in the group stages of the Champions League which left the Scottish champions second in Group G behind Barcelona with four points from two games.

However, with a double-header against the Catalan giants looming, the former Cardiff midfielder is not getting carried away.

"We are just happy to be in the competition," he said.

"We are enjoying every minute of it but we don't want to say that we are going to qualify.

"We have two games against Barcelona which is fantastic for the players but it will be very difficult.

"You never know, hopefully we can get a win or a couple of points, but we will take it game by game and see how it goes.

"We are talking about the best players in the world so it is going to be very difficult but we are happy with the four points out of six at the moment."

As for being paired against a Perth side who beat Celtic at McDiarmid Park in the league last month, Ledley added: "It is a difficult draw.

"They have beaten us already this season so we need to perform better against them the next time.

"We are just happy that we are home."

While there appeared to be some disappointment that Celtic and Rangers had avoided each other - the Ibrox club were drawn at home to Inverness - Ledley said: "Maybe if we get through we can play them another time."