Ireland U19 midfielder Joe Hodge has been named Manchester City’s Scholar of the Year at the 2019/20 Premier League Academy awards.
Hodge was selected by Manchester City’s staff for his performance both on and off the pitch and was recognised at a virtual awards ceremony.
Hodge suffered a blow earlier this season, breaking his leg and his ankle in August but managed to return playing 14 games and helping City win the U18 Premier League Cup for the second year in succession.
The young midfielder impressively beat out some of European football’s brightest young talents to secure the prestigious accolade in his first year as a full-time footballer.
“I’m very happy to win the award,” said Hodge.
“It’s a good achievement to win Scholar of the Year, especially considering I didn’t play many games.
“It is nice to know that what I did last season, I did well, even though I couldn’t play with the team.
“I thought my season was done, but I ended up playing 14 games, which isn’t bad considering I broke my leg.
“I played in the quarter-final, semi-final and final of the Premier League Cup and got one game in the FA Youth Cup, so I did a lot better than I thought I would.
“I’ve loved it, it’s been a really good first year [as a scholar].”
Hodge was also nominated for the FAI’s U17 Men’s International Player of the Year and has been highly impressive when representing the Boys in Green, who he qualifies to play for through his grandmother.
The talented midfielder was instrumental in Ireland’s run to the semi-finals of the U19 European Championships playing in all four games.
His performances also caught they eye of current senior manager Stephen Kenny who was full of praise for Hodge during the U17s European Championships in May of last year.
"He's a classic midfield player" – Ireland U21 manager Stephen Kenny is a big fan of the silky Joe Hodge pic.twitter.com/4npmGbtaLZ
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) May 9, 2019
“He’s a classic, natural midfield player,” Kenny said on the RTÉ Sport panel.
“He understands the game for one so young, he has a great appreciation for space. He takes great angles to receive the ball, and has great feet, good vision and a range of passing. He’s got a lot.”