Alan Biggs at Large: Lucas Joao is Hirst-class, says Hillsborough hero David

Owls new signing Lucas Joao
Owls new signing Lucas Joao
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So how good is Lucas Joao? “As good as he wants to be,” says David Hirst.

And that’s not bad for starters because arguably Sheffield Wednesday have not had a striker of such potential since Hirst himself and his first impressions can barely be topped.

As 21-year-old forwards go, Joao seems to have attributes far outstripping the £2m paid to Portuguese club Nacional.

“He can hold the ball up, has good pace, can see a pass and is skilful with it,” an admiring Hirst told me ahead of the midweek visit of Reading, which took place after the Telegraph went to press.

“This is a player who creates opportunities for himself and other people... and who helps make Sheffield Wednesday very exciting to watch.

“I was very impressed with him as substitute against Bristol City and again from the start against Mansfield in the Capital One Cup. It looks to me like this could be a special talent.”

It has to be said that Joao has struck almost every Owls watcher the same way – but, considering the reluctance of those in football to build up young players, and indeed the fact Hirst has a coaching input with Wednesday youngsters, this is high praise indeed.

Coach Carlos Carvalhal will nurse Joao along and quite rightly. But talent tends to pick itself.