Wolves midfielder Joe Hodge caught Julen Lopetegui’s attention from the first session at Wolves, according to sporting director Matt Hobbs.
Hodge has enjoyed a fantastic rise at Molineux.
The youngster made his first-team debut for the club back in October when he came on at half-time against Chelsea.
Hodge has since made a handful of appearances for the club, and last month he was handed his first start by Julen Lopetegui against Liverpool at Anfield in the FA Cup.
Hodge will be with Wolves for the rest of the season, after some claims he might have been allowed to head out on loan.
In the end, Wolves wanted to keep hold of Hodge, with Lopetegui a big fan of the former Manchester City man.
Hobbs has been speaking about Hodge and his rise at Molineux.
And he says that the youngster has been in Lopetegui’s sights since day one.
He said (Wolves official): “Joe’s character is unbelievable. He’s a quiet boy, he doesn’t like any of the fuss, and is just very serious about his football.
“A person like that, when they get opportunities, they’re in a position to take them because they’re mentally so strong and stable.
“From the first session, he’s been impressed with Joe, he’s shown he’s part of his plans. He’s shown he trusts him, and the other players trust him which is really important. It’s the first thing you need to do as a young player, go in and get the trust of the players with and without the ball, and he did that very quickly.”
Lopetegui praised Hodge to his face when he was having a tour of Compton when he first came in.
The Spaniard stumbled across him and told him that he’d had a good game against Leeds United in the Carabao Cup.
It was clear from that point that Hodge would be getting a decent level of involvement under the new head coach.
Joe Hodge will need to be patient now at Wolves, but Julen Lopetegui clearly loves him
So Hobbs has confirmed that Lopetegui has been impressed by Hodge since the first day.
It’s been clear how highly the head coach rates him, and it’s been brilliant to see him getting opportunities with the first-team.
It could get tricky now for Hodge in the coming months.
Competition for places is really tough. Mario Lemina has come in and excelled so far. And Joao Gomes could be an option moving forward.
And then there’s Boubacar Traore to come back into the fold.
So minutes may soon be harder to come by for Hodge.
But as Hobbs said, he just needs to be patient and keep working hard. Lopetegui loves what he brings, and he can have a big future at Molineux.