Manchester City Scholar of the Year Joe Hodge joins Derry City on loan

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The 18-year-old midfielder also represents the Republic of Ireland at youth level.

Derry City have pulled off what could be a major coup in acquiring the services of 18-year-old Manchester City and Ireland midfielder Joe Hodge on loan.

Hodge is very highly-rated at both club and international level, leaving many surprised at his decision to move to the League of Ireland amid reported interest elsewhere.

If anything, this just goes to show the development of the league over the past few years. Premier League clubs are becoming increasingly comfortable in sending their academy footballers to the league which wasn’t the case in years gone by.

Hodge has already accumulated a number of honours despite his young age.

He was named Manchester City’s Scholar of the Year in 2019/20 despite suffering a horrifying leg and ankle break earlier in the season. His recovery has been nothing short of phenomenal, many young players would have their confidence destroyed by such an injury at a young age.

Not Joe Hodge, though.

Manchester City felt his progress was so impressive that it merited a professional contract which he signed in August of last year.

He was also named Ireland u17 Player of the Year, an award which has been won by Adam Idah, Declan Rice and Jack Grealish in years gone by.

More recently, Hodge started as he helped his Manchester City u18 squad win the FA Youth Cup final in November of 2020. He also started the semi-final days beforehand and scored the opening goal, a screamer from outside the box.

Playing in the league may also strengthen his ties with Ireland. Hodge played for England u16s and u17s in the past, but has been involved in the Irish youth setup since 2018.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be bringing Joe to Derry City,” manager Declan Devine stated.

“It’s a high profile loan signing for us given that Man City are one of the biggest clubs in the world and Joe is one of their top young talents and current ‘Scholar of the Year’.

“We want to help him evolve and to enjoy this opportunity. I’m hoping that his spell with Derry City will play some small part in the youngster fulfilling his potential.

“I’d like to thank Manchester City for their assistance in getting the deal done and assure them we will look after the lad.”

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