Hodgson thanks Saints boss Mallinder for keeping the faith

SETTLING IN - new signing Joel Hodgson chats to Tom Collins during the Saints' media day at Franklin's Gardens on Wednesday (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

SETTLING IN - new signing Joel Hodgson chats to Tom Collins during the Saints' media day at Franklin's Gardens on Wednesday (Picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

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Joel Hodgson has paid tribute to Saints boss Jim Mallinder for agreeing to sign him despite his late-season injury problem.

Hodgson picked up a wrist injury at the start of last season at Newcastle Falcons, but it was only discovered towards the end of the campaign.

By then, the 22-year-old was already in talks with Saints, who had no qualms about bringing in the player despite the issue.

And Hodgson has admitted his gratitude for Mallinder’s show of faith as he bids to return to action in time for the big Aviva Premiership kick-off on September 5.

“The move came about quite late for me, sort of late April, early May time,” explained the Northampton new boy. “I always knew I was leaving Newcastle, but this move came about really late.

“I had my wrist trouble, so it was a bit touch and go but thankfully Jim stuck with it and we still signed a deal so it was more or less sorted out after the season had ended.

“Unfortunately, I found out about my injury late and by the time I did I was already in talks with Northampton, but Jim was great.”

Mallinder is looking to utilise Hodgson, who was predominantly deployed at 10 by Newcastle, at scrum-half during the forthcoming campaign.

And the former Falcon is delighted to be at a club where he can learn from some of the finest players the English game has to offer.

“I can learn from the best,” said Hodgson. “Kahn’s (Fotuali’i) a world class player and the same with Lee (Dickson), so I am very fortunate to be able to bounce ideas off them.

“I want to take as much as I can from these guys and hopefully it will stand me in good stead for my future.”