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Joe Hodge named as new Ireland Under 21 captain

Joe Hodge

One of Ireland’s most promising talents.

Joe Hodge has been named as the new Ireland Under 21 captain, ahead of their game against Iceland this weekend.

Hodge will feel somewhat unlucky to have missed out on making Stephen Kenny’s senior side to take on Latvia and France, after his breakthrough start to the season at Wolves.

Hodge has played in the Premier League and both domestic cups for Wolves this season, impressing on multiple occasions.

Having missed out on qualifying for the Euros towards the end of last year, Hodge is hoping that the experience gained in that campaign will help Jim Crawford’s side.

Hodge will likely lead the Under 21s out when they take on Iceland in Turner’s Cross this Sunday.

Joe Hodge becomes Ireland Under 21 captain

He said: “Obviously I’m dead proud of it. It’s an honour to be captain of your country, even the Under 21s.

“I’m buzzing and can’t wait to get going… We’ll need more than one leader in the group, but if we can carry on the way the boys ended the last campaign, we’ll be set.

“The earlier we can get out and play together, the better it is in the long run for this campaign. Everyone is looking forward to it, down in Turner’s Cross should be a good occasion.

“Everyone is just switched on and ready for Sunday.

While there may have been fears about Hodge’s future and whether or not he would declare for Ireland, he made it very clear recently that the only team he wanted to play for is the Boys in Green.

He said: “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’m committed to Ireland but it does get annoying because I’ve never given any suggestion that I would play for England. I have never turned down a call-up for Ireland.

“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.”

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