‘In my plans’: Gary O’Neil insists 21-year-old does have a place at Wolves this season

Gary O’Neil has told Wolves midfielder Joe Hodge that he has a future at Molineux, following the Irishman’s desire for game time.

Under Gary O’Neil, Wolves’ 21-year-old midfielder has yet to play a minute of Premier League football.


This forced him to cut a frustrated figure during the international break, during which he expressed his desire for additional minutes.


He also hinted that he would quit Wolves in January if things don’t improve.


This is likely made more frustrating by the fact that Hodge stated his goal to be a regular starter before Julen Lopetegui departed the club in the summer.


Gary O’Neil has now weighed in on the subject…

Julen Lopetegui: Joe Hodge can play a part for Wolves this season |  Shropshire Star

Gary O’Neil on Joe Hodge

In an interview with the Express & Star, Wolves manager Paul Lambert stated he has “no issue with Joe Hodge whatsoever,” before adding that the midfielder has been injured.
“He’s in my plans but I’ve been a player and I understand when you’re not playing as much as you want (you will be frustrated), but there’s about 14 every week that don’t play as much as they want.”

Following that, he issued an ultimatum to Hodge: work hard for his chance or leave.

“Joe would fall into that category, and as a footballer, you have to make your own decisions about what that means for you, whether you want to stay and fight or move.”

“That is a normal situation and I don’t have any problems with Joe whatsoever.”

A January loan is probably the best decision

While Hodge does deserve a chance, it is hard to envision him getting one, with all the midfielders ahead of him in the pecking order.

Joao Gomes and Mario Lemina are the two clear starters, while Tommy Doyle has also put himself in good stead for a chance.

Boubacar Traore is another who is above Hodge in the rankings which likely leaves the Ireland under-21 international as fifth choice.

Therefore, we think a loan to a Championship side in January should be looked at, as he needs game-time to develop.



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