Hobbs | On Hodge's character, positivity and potential

Wolves sporting director Matt Hobbs says Joe Hodge’s “unbelievable” character is putting him in the best possible position to have a successful career.

Hobbs was speaking to wolves.co.uk after Hodge put pen to paper on a new long-term contract at Molineux recently, which came after the midfielder has transitioned into the first-team and made an impact under new head coach Julen Lopetegui in recent months.

Handed his first-team debut by interim head coach Steve Davis in October, Hodge hasn’t looked back, and opportunities have continued under Lopetegui, taking the 20-year-old to 10 senior appearances and, according to Hobbs, a good position to kick on in old gold.

On his journey at Wolves

“Joe came to us with a stress fracture in his back. We took our time with him, he was patient, and the medical team did a really good job. Scott was great with Joe, allowing him that time to recover because we knew the quality he had.

“We talk about the work the medical team did, but there was the patience James Collins showed and the professionalism Joe showed. James gradually eased him into game time, and the work he did with him was key and important for Joe also.

“The new contract is testament to the work Joe’s put in through his rehab and now he’s been back fit, with what he’s shown on the pitch for the under-21s and first-team.”

On how he came to Wolves

“Scott deserves all the credit for bringing Joe to the club. He’s a player he knew from his time at Man City, and he knew the family well. When Scott found out the possibility he could join us, even with the injury Joe had, he thought it was a move which would benefit the club, so actively pushed it, and he was right.

“He’s a player we knew as a scouting department, but for us, the injury might have been an issue, but it’s just gone to show that if you give someone some time and faith, and the right rehab programme, that players can go on and do what Joe’s done.”

On having what it takes to succeed

“Joe’s character is unbelievable. He’s a quiet boy, he doesn’t like any of the fuss, and is just very serious about his football. A person like that, when they get opportunities, they’re in a position to take them because they’re mentally so strong and stable.

“If you think he was thrown on at half-time at Chelsea, his Premier League debut, he was positive, passed and ran forward, exactly what we needed on the day, which tells you everything.”

On Lopetegui taking to Hodge

“From the first session, he’s been impressed with Joe, he’s shown he’s part of his plans. He’s shown he trusts him, and the other players trust him which is really important. It’s the first thing you need to do as a young player, go in and get the trust of the players with and without the ball, and he did that very quickly.

“For Joe, it’s about taking opportunities when they come. We’ve built a competitive midfield now and we’ve got ‘Bouba’ to come back from injury, so there is competition for places, which is great for the squad, and something we’ve not had for 18 months. Joe’s still young, he’s got to stay humble, stay patient, and he’s going to be a big, important part of our squad going forward.”