Hooper released from the second year of his contract

Gary Hooper is cutting short his second stint with the Wellington Phoenix.

The English striker will leave the club at the end of the 2021/22 Isuzu UTE A-League season, having been granted a release from the second year of his contract so he can be with his family.

Hooper has spent this season in Sydney, while his wife and children have been in the UK. They reunited briefly in Dubai for Christmas after the club granted him leave.

The 34-year-old re-joined the Phoenix for the 2021/22 season after a year away in the Indian Super League.

Hooper found the back of the net eight times in his first stint with the club to help the Phoenix to an historic third place finish in 2020.

He has scored five goals in 11 appearances for Wellington so far this campaign.

Injuries have limited his involvement in the past three months, with Hooper making just three starts during that spell.

“It’s been up and down,” Phoenix head coach Ufuk Talay said. “The games that he’s been involved in he’s an influential player, he’s a quality player.

“It’s been frustrating for him, it’s been frustrating for me not being able to keep Hoops on the park.”

Hooper tore his calf in last week’s match against Newcastle Jets and will be side-lined for up to six weeks, meaning he may miss the remainder of the season.