By: Hibernian Media on 19 Aug, 2019 11:00
Born in Brazil but raised in Scotland, Jack Hodge’s backstory is as colourful as they come.
The Development Squad midfielder was born in Natal as his parents were working in South America at the time, but he considers himself fully Scottish and has even climbed his way through the youth levels on the international scene to boot.
He explained: “My parents were living and working in Brazil at the time when I was born in Natal. I was only there for about six weeks, so it is an oddity for me.
“They were over working for the clothing industry at the time. I don’t really know the full story other than the fact that I was born there and my mum and dad still keep in contact with some of the friends they have over there. I’ve never been back though!”
Whilst he was born in Natal, Jack actually started out his football career with Falkirk, before leaving there to join Hibernian in January 2017.
In the summer of 2017 though he would leave to join St Johnstone because of the opportunities available to him at the Perth club. That move saw him blossom as his skill levels increased and the team he left came calling, making it hard for the midfielder to turn down a move back to East Mains.
That six month spell he spent here two years ago exponentially improved him, with the teenager impressed with the professional approach within the Hibernian Academy – one of the main reasons he came back.
Jack commented: “Most of my career I have spent at Falkirk. I was there in the youth system for about seven years before leaving to come to Hibs back in 2017 for half a season at under-17 level before leaving for St Johnstone. I’m delighted to be back here full-time.
“There’s been a lot of diversity in my background in football, but it’s been good to experience.
“I just really got stuck into my training when I was at St Johnstone. There wasn’t much else to it.
“I put a lot of focus on improving aspects of my game that were maybe seen as being a weakness, obviously I still have a lot to improve on too, but having that spell there helped me to improve my game.
“Being a young player that is what you need to do. You need to continue to work hard and show you are improving.
“Being at Hibs first time round really did help to progress my game. There is just a completely different type of professionalism around here than at any of the other clubs I have been at before. The expected standards are much higher here too.
“Just being in and around this level will really bring me on. It’s good to be back here again.”
Players such as Josh Campbell and Ben Stirling are both ahead of Jack in the pecking order at Development Squad level and the midfielder knows how much work he needs to put in to force his way into the side.
With a variety of opposition in the pipeline for the team this year following the move out of the SPFL Reserve League, Hibernian have found themselves playing a range of teams and broadening the football experience of the players in the side.
Jack is coupling this with a loan spell at Lowland League side Civil Service Strollers where he is learning how to be more physical and aggressive on the pitch. Having a combination of the two different styles is, according to him, beneficial for players his age.
He said: “There’s no point in lying, but it will be tough as there is good talent ahead of me. All I can do is to play my game then improve physically too.
“I have a loan spell at Civil Service Strollers and that has helped, but I am just learning a lot here and hopefully if I continue to progress then I can get myself into the team.
“I’ve really enjoyed the time at Civil. It’s a different type of football, but it is really enjoyable.
“The games at Lowland League level are really physical and that’s where I need to work on my game and improve on that too.
“Playing here and coming up against different opposition is brilliant and you learn a lot as you always have to be at the top of your game.
“It is really beneficial to come up against sides that you aren’t used to. When you get to an older age you play against teams, and in teams too, that are made up of players from different countries and that is drastically different to when you are younger.
“To have that variety at a young age really helps.”
The Hibernian Development Squad are back in action on Tuesday 20 August against Tranent Juniors at Foresters Park with the match kicking off at 7pm.
Image: Maurice Dougan.