Villa striker re­veals how £12m price tag HELPS him to cope

Birmingham Post - - SPORT - GREGG EVANS Foot­ball Writer

SCOTT Ho­gan has re­vealed how his hefty £12 mil­lion price tag has ac­tu­ally helped him dur­ing his times of strug­gle.

The Villa striker ad­mits it hasn’t gone to plan since mov­ing from Brent­ford in Jan­uary as nig­gling an­kle in­juries have re­stricted him to just 11 league starts.

But while away on in­ter­na­tional duty with the Repub­lic of Ire­land this week, Ho­gan said: “Some­times when I’m a bit down – and I’ll be hon­est, it has not gone great since I went to Villa – I go home and my girl­friend, fam­ily and friends say, ‘ Re mem­ber, you’re a £12m player. Some­one paid that much money you’. That picks you up a tle. “I re­mem­ber the first bids go­ing in from West Ham, even be­fore Jan­uary, and it was like, ‘Je­sus, this is a lot of money here’. “And the bids kept be­ing turned down and I was like, ‘this can­not keep go­ing up here, can it?’ “I had only been at low­bud­get clubs and I kept think­ing I am just a lad who wants to play foot­ball, I am not wor­thy of that kind of money. A fee is a fee. “If some­one wants to pay it, they pay it, but from where I am from, that’s a lot of money.” Ho­gan bagged three goals in the early rounds of the Carabao Cup this term but is still stuck on one has for lit- Cham­pi­onship goal in claret and blue.

Martin O’Neill has taken a punt on the striker by hand­ing him his first Repub­lic of Ire­land call-up and Ho­gan is hop­ing to make an im­pres­sion with two fi­nal World Cup qual­i­fiers against Moldova and Wales on the agenda.

De­spite a dif­fi­cult 2017, Ho­gan has still en­joyed a rapid rise in re­cent years.

It wasn’t long ago he was an odd-job man, work­ing in a ware­house, shelf-stack­ing, clean­ing and re­cy­cling vans.

“I did every­thing,” he ad­mit­ted, dur­ing his ear­lier years when he was knock­ing around the non-league cir­cuit be­fore mov­ing to Rochdale and then Brent­ford.

“But I knew the only thing I was okay at was foot­ball, so I just kept play­ing and kept play­ing and I gave my job up one summer to go and train in the gym.”

A down-to-earth man who ad­mits he never had much grow­ing up, Ho­gan re­mains in­cred­i­bly grounded, de­spite his big-money move to Villa Park. “The fam­ily live near where I am. I have my girl­friend. We are sen­si­ble, we are not stupid,” he said. “I am more of a go home sit in front of the TV and watch foot­ball type of lad, rather than the go out and do what­ever type.

“Be­ing paid to be a foot­baller al­lows us to do nice things, al­lows us to live in a nice house, and it al­lows us to do things that we never could. I don’t take it for granted and I never will.”

> Scott Ho­gan bagged three goals in the early rounds of the Carabao Cup. Repub­lic of Ire­land boss Martin O’Neill, pic­tured left, has taken a punt on Scott Ho­gan

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