Derry City pull off coup with signing of Man City 'scholar of the year' Joe Hodge on loan

by Rónán MacNamara

Derry City have announced the signing of Manchester City’s scholar of the year, midfielder Joe Hodge, on a six-month loan deal.

The 18-year-old joins the Candystripes in what is a real coup for the club, having been subject to plenty of interest elsewhere, including league rivals Waterford.

Hodge signed his first professional contract with Manchester City last season amd the Premier League leaders were keen for him to play regular senior football to help his development.

Manchester-born Hodge is a Republic of Ireland under-19 international having featured in Tom Mohan’s side as a 16-year-old at the 2019 European Championships.

He was also part of Colin O'Brien's under-17 side that competed in the European Championships on home soil the same year.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be bringing Joe to Derry City,” City manager Declan Devine told the club’s media team.

“It’s a high profile loan signing for us given that Man City are one of the biggest clubs in the world and Joe is one of their top young talents and current Scholar of the Year.

“Of course Joe is just 18 years old and this will be his first venture into senior football. We want to help him evolve and to enjoy this opportunity.

“I’m hoping that his spell with Derry City will play some small part in the youngster fulfilling his potential,” he concluded.