KOCHI: On paper, Indian Super League (ISL) side Kerala Blasters have one of the best strikers in the league in the form of Gary Hooper.
The English forward comes with an impressive CV, having played in the English Premier League as well as the Champions League.
The 32-year-old opened his account for his new club against NorthEast United earlier in the season and he is expected to fill the void left by last season's top scorer Bartholomew Ogbeche.
While he hasn't been at his free-flowing best yet, goals are expected to come sooner rather than later as these are still early days in the season.
Gary Hooper knows that it's not easy to come to a new league and hit the ground running but he has been industrious in all the matches he has played for his teams.
"It's always a challenge when you come in to a new league with new players," said Hooper.
"The players have to turn up on the pitch, do a good job and win the game." he added.
As far as Hooper's role in the team is concerned, it is not just to try and score goals for the team. He is also trying to contribute off the field by helping out the domestic players.
"It is a first time for me (in India) and in Australia it is completely different. Indian football has got some great players, always learning and always listening to the experienced people and they want to learn every day," he said.
The former Celtic player said that he had heard about the ISL before signing for the two-time finalists.
"I did hear about the Indian Super League before the team approached me. Sought out a few English players who came over and they seemed to enjoy it. The bio-bubble could be tough for four to five months but it's essential to keep us safe and protect us from not being exposed to the Covid-19," said Hooper.
The arrival of players like Hooper is an indication that ISL is growing and the league could improve even more.
"For the league to grow further in the future, according to me, it will need more teams, more games and a longer season. It's always hard but it's been only seven years since the beginning of the league and it has a good future ahead," he signed off.