The 22-year-old, one of New Zealand’s star performers at the recent London Olympics, has signed for the remainder of the season and will look to enhance his reputation and impress coach and former All White Gavin Wilkinson, both in training and when match opportunities arise.
“Ian’s a little bit nervous at the moment, his touch was a bit off, but he’s a young player who has been brought in to see what he can offer going forward,” Wilkinson says.
“I don’t expect him to contribute a lot this year to be honest, it’s just a matter of getting a couple of months under our belt. This was an opportunity to make the most of the roster and see what we could look at and develop moving forward.”
Getting forward has never proved a problem for Hogg, however, who has marauded up and down the left flank for New Zealand at various tournaments, including the FIFA U-20 World Cup, two Olympic Games and at this year’s OFC Nations Cup.
Hogg, who marked his international debut against El Salvador with a stunning goal, is under no illusion as to just how difficult the step up to the fulltime game will be.
“Coming into a professional environment, it’s about learning the habits and learning off some of the senior guys,” he says. “It’s a bit of a step up for me.”
The adjustment period for Hogg will be made easier through the New Zealand influence of Wilkinson and international teammate Jake Gleeson. This familiarity, coupled with his renowned determination and resolve, should see him assimilate well as he trains and prepares to take on the likes of Thierry Henry and David Beckham, who also star in the top flight of United States football.
Hogg, who signed for Portland from ASB Premiership side Auckland City, is not planning on just making up the numbers and aims to force his way into the team.
“If any injuries come about then hopefully I’ll be able to step up,” he says. “I’m just looking to take any opportunities I get given.”