Republic of Ireland underage player Joe Hodge has been named Manchester City's Scholar of the Year as his performance continues to improve at the Premier League club.
The 17-year-old played for England at Under-16 and Under-17 level but has since committed to Ireland, under what is well known as the ‘Granny Rule’ in the last two years.
In most recent times he has produced some shining technical performances on the national scene, most notably for the Under-17s and Under-19s.
In May 2019, then Ireland Under-21 manager Stephen Kenny praised Hodge's capabilities after watching him impress during Ireland's 1-1 draw with Belgium at the Under-17 Euros.
"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
Kenny spoke to the RTE panel about Hodge’s natural talent, saying, "He's a classic, natural midfield player."
"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."
Hodge secured this amazing honour at the 2019/20 Premier League Academy virtual awards ceremony in what is the latest marker of his potential and hopefully the start of something brilliant to come.
In August of last year, Hodge broke both his leg and his ankle. However, the City teenager returned from that injury earlier than initially expected and helped the Man City’s Under-18 side to their second successive Premier League Cup in February.
Hodge has been with City since joining their Under-9 side, but this was his first season as a full-time footballer.
Speaking about his award win, Hodge told the Man City club website that he was delighted to win the prize.
"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."