English League 1

Harewood continues City trial

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Mon, 29 Jul 2013 16:55:00

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand believes the current squad is good enough to retain the title without further signings.

United have failed with two bids to sign former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona and also lost out on Thiago Alcantara, who chose to join European champions Bayern Munich.

That leaves full-back Guillermo Varela - signed from Atletico Penarol - as the sole arrival of the David Moyes era, although January signing Wilfried Zaha is now at Old Trafford having returned to Crystal Palace on loan last season.

But Ferdinand is bullish about the champions' prospects for the new campaign regardless of what happens between now and the transfer window closing.

He said: "We're confident. If we had to go into the season with the players that we've got now I'd be more than confident and with high hopes of doing well and winning trophies.

"If the manager adds to that and chooses to add to that, then great - but it remains to be seen."

Moyes himself appears similarly enthused by the options at his disposal.

He reflected on the tour of Asia: "I'm taking away a great experience of my first trip with Manchester United in general and what the football club means around the world.

"But I've also had a chance to get to know the players, try and settle into my new environment and the players to get to know me as well.

"They've been working with a great manager for a long time, a lot of them, so it's going to take time. But I've enjoyed working with them, they're incredibly professional and I can see why they're champions. The way they conduct themselves and go about their business and I've been very impressed by them."

The 25-year-old signed from Celtic last week and met up with the Norwich squad on Sunday following their return from the United States.

The Canaries' long-standing interest and the prospect of playing in the Premier League persuaded Hooper to swap Champions League nights at Parkhead and the goldfish bowl that is football in Glasgow for Norfolk.

His aims are simple after moving to Carrow Road on a three-year deal, with Norwich having the option of a further year.

"(To) score goals," Hooper said.

"That's what I get paid for, that's what the gaffer got me in for and that's the challenge: to play and score goals.

"I wanted to play in the Premier League and to try to get an England call-up. I think there's a good chance of that."

Hooper felt that at Celtic the opportunity for England recognition was limited, even though he came close to a call-up under Roy Hodgson earlier this year, only to be ruled out through injury.

"You don't really get a look in up there," Hooper said.

"Down here you've got more chance. The main thing is playing, getting on the pitch first, and doing what I do.

"To play for your country is anyone's dream, but my first dream is to play in the Premier League."

Manager Chris Hughton supports Hooper's ambition.

"He's got to play well enough for Norwich City Football Club and score goals and prove that he can do it in this very, very difficult league," Hughton said.

"That's the reason why he's here and that's the wonderful challenge that he has."

Hooper scored 31 goals for Scottish champions Celtic last season and is the Canaries' seventh summer signing.

He was Celtic's leading goalscorer for the last three seasons, having joined from Scunthorpe in 2010 for £2.4million.

Hooper could have joined sooner, but opted to stay in Glasgow in January to be part of Celtic's Champions League campaign.

Hooper added: "I had the Champions League and Celtic wanted to keep me. It was a tough decision, but I'm here now and I'm happy."

QPR also had a bid accepted for Hooper and he carefully considered a move to Loftus Road.

"I was close, but I wanted to come here and play in the Premiership," Hooper added.

"I've never played in the Premiership. I've played in every league, scored in every league and the next challenge is the Premiership."

Hooper is the second striker recruited this summer by Hughton, following the record signing of Dutch international Ricky van Wolfswinkel for £8.5million from Sporting Lisbon.

After losing team talisman Grant Holt, supporters will be looking to Van Wolfswinkel and Hooper, who could make his debut against Brighton tomorrow, to fill the void.

Hughton will demand that the duo put the team first.

He said: "It's not just about scoring goals. This is a very tough division.

"What they first have to be is a good team player. "What he has got on his CV is that he's used to scoring goals.

"It's for us to make sure we have the right combinations to give him the opportunity to score goals."

Norwich have also signed Dutch midfielder Leroy Fer from FC Twente, Birmingham wing Nathan Redmond, left-backs Javier Garrido and Martin Olsson plus the goalkeeper Carlo Nash.

Hughton is still looking, but is happy to have made signings early in the transfer window.

"We're delighted at this stage to have brought in what we have," Hughton said.

The 33-year-old striker recently joined up with Sean O'Driscoll's squad following his release from Barnsley and appeared in the friendly wins at Forest Green and against Reading and also Saturday's goalless draw at Bournemouth.

Harewood is scheduled to turn out for City's Under-21s side at Weston-Super-Mare in a bid to boost his fitness.

The London-born forward began his career at Nottingham Forest and made over 140 appearances for West Ham before joining Aston Villa in 2007.

He spent a season at Blackpool and returned to Forest in 2011 before spending the last campaign at Barnsley, who did not renew his one-year deal in May.

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