Hodge | On Celtic test, playing at the Aviva and pre-season minutes

Joe Hodge is determined to play as many minutes as possible for Wolves this season after featuring from the start in both of his side’s pre-season friendlies against FC Porto and Celtic.

Stepping out at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin for the first time on Saturday afternoon, the Republic of Ireland under-21 captain able to realise a lifelong dream of playing at the home of his national team against the Scottish champions, and Hodge is hoping to make many more appearances there in the green of Ireland.

On importance of Celtic match

“It’s dead important for us because we’re only two weeks away from the season starting for us, so any minutes against a good team is going to help us start off well, hopefully.

“I think we can improve and we all know that we can still improve as a team, but for me, I’m grateful to be getting some minutes because I want to be playing and to get two 90 minutes so far has been great for me.”

On the Wolves support in Dublin

“It was class. It makes a difference after playing the last few friendlies in front of not many people and you know our fans are always superb wherever they go.

“So, thank you to everyone who came down today and they helped to create a good atmosphere.”

On playing at his national stadium

“I loved it. Hopefully I’ll be playing back here in a green jersey. I’ve been waiting to play here for ages, and it was a dream of mine to play here, so hopefully I’ll be playing here again sooner rather than later.

“It’s where I’ve always wanted to play football, and to do it at some point in my career was brilliant for me, and I loved it today.”

On having his family watching

“I had loads here, so hopefully they enjoyed it and it was a good, entertaining game for them.

“I felt that walking out that there was a lot of pride there for me to play here, which is just 10 minutes down the road from where my family grew up. But I loved it today, it was brilliant.”

On aims for the season

“I want to play every week, that’s what I want to do. I know it’s not realistic and I’m not going to, but it’s my aim, and I’m just going to work as hard as I can, train well every day and when I get the chance just try and do my best.

“Hopefully I’ll get lots of minutes, but that’s the challenge and with the quality in the squad that’s not an easy thing to do, but I’m just trying to do my best and learn from the rest of the players, learn from the gaffer, and see where that takes me.”