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Joe Hodge Left No Doubt About International Future When Asked If He Would 'Do A Declan'

Joe Hodge Left No Doubt About International Future When Asked If He Would 'Do A Declan'
By Gary Connaughton Updated
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Whenever a young player born across the Irish Sea is coming through Ireland youth teams, the same question always arises: will they jump ship to England should the opportunity present itself?

It is perhaps an unfair query. These young players have opted to wear the green jersey at international level, usually with little inference that they would switch allegiances were they given the chance to do so.

Of course, supporters are still bearing the scars of sagas past. A bitter taste remains in the mouth over the way the likes of Jack Grealish and Declan Rice (especially the latter) used the Irish youth system to develop before deciding to play for England.

As a result, this question is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

Joe Hodge addresses international future

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Joe Hodge is one player that has been discussed in such terms, with the Manchester-born midfielder lining out for England at U16 and U17 level before throwing his lot in with Ireland.

Now a Premier League regular at Wolves, some have posed the question as to whether he might consider his international future. For the player himself, it is a non-issue.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, the question about whether he would 'do a Declan' was inevitably raised. Hodge said that he has no doubts about committing his future to Ireland and that questions about the chances of him doing so have grown somewhat tiresome. He is hoping to receive a first call-up under Stephen Kenny in the upcoming March window.

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No, I only want to play for Ireland.

Hand on my heart. I don’t have a problem saying that I want to play for Ireland. I am clear on it. I don’t have a problem coming to do an interview like this because I am not fazed by that question.

Up until I was 16 I played for both and never turned down a call up, but when I had the choice I picked Ireland and I wouldn’t turn back on that...

I don’t get too much of it (questions about his international future).

I think all the lads on the Under 21s know that I’m committed to playing for Ireland, but yeah it does get annoying because I have never given any suggestion that I would play for England.

I have never turned down a call up for Ireland or done anything like that...

Hopefully Stephen picks me. If he doesn’t then it doesn’t change anything for me. I will keep working hard and try to get in the squad and, if that doesn’t work, then get in the squad after that.

Viewed as one of the brightest prospects to play for Ireland at underage level in some time, injuries had a major impact on Joe Hodge's development over the last couple of years.

He is very much back on track since his move to Wolves and has become a regular in the side under Julen Lopetegui. Having only signed for the club during the summer, he was rewarded with a new contract at Molineux earlier this week.

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Here's hoping he can bring that form to international level in the near future. There seems little doubt that he will be doing so with Ireland once the chance arrives.

SEE ALSO: Soccer Saturday Panel Lost Their Minds After Stunning Evan Ferguson Header

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