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Joe Hodge determined to take his big Wolves chance

Joe Hodge admits he did not expect his first-team opportunity for Wolves this season as he targets becoming ‘a big player’ for the club.

Joe Hodge signs a new contract with Wolves (Getty)
Joe Hodge signs a new contract with Wolves (Getty)

The 20-year-old, who joined Wolves in 2021 but did not make his under-23 debut until February last year due to a long-term back injury, has been one of a number of academy products that have broken into the first team this season.

Hodge has made 10 appearances for the senior side so far, including a start and an impressive performance away at Anfield in the FA Cup, before signing a new four-and-a-half year contract with Wolves.

When asked if he expected this breakthrough, he said: “Hardly! I didn’t have a clue what to expect at the start of the season.

“I was playing in the under-23s and only just came back from injury, so I can’t ask for any more.

“It was brilliant (playing at Anfield) and we were unlucky not to win. I wanted to win.

“But just to be out there on that stage was amazing. This time last year I’d played 12 games in three seasons, so this season has been unbelievable really.”

The midfielder got his first-team chance under interim boss Steve Davis and has stayed in the picture since Julen Lopetegui took over.

In fact, the new head coach has taken a shine to Hodge and requested he stay with Wolves for the rest of the season and not go on loan in January, despite the club now having seven senior midfielders once Boubacar Traore is fit.

Hodge added: “It’s been class. The past few months, since the new gaffer has come in, it’s been good.

“Training has been good and I can’t complain about anything, it’s been class.

“It’s good to have his backing. Obviously there’s a long way to go and I want to become a big player for this team, but its definitely been a good start.

“I’m learning from him and the other good players around me every day. I’m learning off Ruben, Joao, Matheus and Bouba every day. They’re top midfielders.

“I’m in a good place to keep kicking on and keep becoming a better player.

“If the gaffer is going to give me an opportunity, I have to do my best to take it, that’s all I can do at the moment.

“It’s not good for Bouba and we all wish him the best in getting back fit, but I’m definitely trying to take my opportunity while I have it.”

When asked what his aims are for the rest of the season, Hodge added: “To keep going and try and break into the team.

“Whenever I get an opportunity, I’ll do my best to take it and we’ll see what happens from there.

“As a team we want to pick up some more points and start climbing our way up the table. If we do, we should have a good end to the season.”

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