JJ Hooper made his first appearance for the Newcastle Reserve team in the 3-0 win at Bolton on Tuesday evening.
JJ Hooper – 17 year-old London born striker
17 year-old Hooper came on in the 72nd minute of that game as a sub to partner the experienced Danish International Peter Lovenkrands up front.
JJ was born in the same place as Steven Taylor – Greenwich – and in April was playing down south in the Kent Youth League, but joined Newcastle two months ago, after a successful trial on Tyneside.
The striker has already scored five goals in seven games for the under-18s Youth team, and that’s one reason he was given his chance in the Reserves side.
JJ (Jonathan James) spoke to the Newcastle official site after the Reserve team game this week:
“From where I’ve come from, I’m very happy,” “I can’t ask for much more.
“I was playing for Sevenoaks and Cray Wanderers so it’s a big step up, but I think I’m capable of stepping up to the plate.”
“I’ve just got to keep going and hopefully get a couple more games this season.”
And Hooper was even close to scoring on Tuesday night, until a good tackle from Bolton full-back Nathan Battersby ended the danger, after JJ had been put through by Lovenkrands.
“It was a great pass from Lovenkrands and a great challenge – but the goals will come, don’t worry about that.” “It was just amazing to play with some of those players. Words can’t describe it.”
“But I’ve got to keep driving. I can’t let it affect my game. I’ll keep grinding, keep on playing and hopefully I’ll get some more games.”
“I’d like to be like Didier Drogba,” he said. “That’s what I aspire to be. I like to go in behind, I like to get it into feet and link up play and I like to score goals.” “My target’s 25 – so there’s 20 to go.”
JJ is an Arsenal supporter, so he must be going through some pain at the moment, but he certainly seems a confident lad.
That will only help him of course in his football career, although it’s unusual to hear somebody talking about hitting more than 20 goals in a season, even at the Youth level, but he scored a hat-trick on his debut for Newcastle’s Under-18s against Chelsea on the opening day of the season – so he got off to a great start.
And you’ve got to be a top youngster to get signed up by Newcastle these days, and the 6’1″ striker was signed under the radar screen in August, so we’ll have to keep an eye open for this youngster, and hope he does very well this season.