The new Joachim? Tom Hopper hails ‘great day’ as he makes his Leicester City debut

Tom Hopper.
Tom Hopper.

TEENAGER Tom Hopper followed in the footsteps of Julian Joachim on Saturday as he made his Leicester City debut.

The striker – whose family home is in Stickney – told The Standard last year that it was his new year’s resolution to break into the Foxes’ first-team in 2012.

And it took the hot prospect just 28 days to make that happen, replacing ex-England international David Nugent in the 81st-minute of City’s FA Cup victory over Swindon Town.

Former Boston United forward Hopper has been a regular in the Leicester Reserves and youth team, but the weekend appearance was his first run-out for Nigel Pearson’s first XI.

“What a great day! Thanks for all the support! Hopefully many more days like this to come,” the 18-year-old wrote on his Twitter account on Saturday night.

He now follows on from fellow Bostonian Joachim, making his professional debut for the Foxes.

While Hopper’s career is just beginning, Joachim went on to make 99 appearances, his 25 goals helping the side gain promotion to the Premier League.

Joachim then went on to turn out for the likes of Aston Villa, Coventry City and Leeds United, before enjoying two spells with Boston United.

Jermaine Beckford had already struck twice to earn Leicester a 2-0 victory before Hopper was introduced to the King Power Stadium.

However, the level-headed forward will refuse to let the moment get the better of him.

Last year he was the first member of the Leicester Youth Academy to be offered a pro-contract.

In December, he stated it was his intention to force his way into the first-team, but knew doing so would take hard work and dedication.

He told The Standard: “You can never relax, you have to keep on proving you’re good enough.

“It’s always just one small step up the ladder.”

Hopper is also on standby for the England Under 19s side, after making his international debut for the under 18s last year.

Again, he appeared from the bench during a 1-1 draw in Italy.

Hopper also has a place in Boston United folklore as the youngest player ever to turn out for the first team.

Aged 15, he made an appearance – once again from the bench – in the UniBond Cup victory over Hucknall Town in 2009.