There is a growing clamour among Owls supporters for George Hirst to be given a chance to prove his credentials at senior level.
With Carlos Carvalhal’s side struggling to find the back of the net on a consistent basis, some fans feel the youngster could be the answer to their goal-scoring woes.
The 17-year-old is in fine form, having bagged 19 goals for club and country this campaign. He made his first-team bow in Wednesday’s EFL Cup defeat to Cambridge United back in August and has since represented the England Under-18 side.
But development squad coach Neil Thompson agrees with Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal that Hirst’s development must not be rushed.
“George has a fantastic work ethic and good ability,” Thompson told The Star. “He scores goals and has just got to keep developing.
“George has done well for the Under-18s, 23s and with England but he has to keep going. He is very level headed and knows he has to keep working hard.”
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Speaking on Sheffield Live TV last Thursday, coach Lee Bullen says the club are wary of throwing Hirst, the son of Owls legend David, straight into the deep end.
Bullen said: “George is a young lad with a big talent and we have to be careful with him. We can’t overhype him too much because the pressure put on young lads when they do well is quite scary sometimes.
“But add to the fact his surname. It’s a poisoned chalice for the kid sometimes but he’s handling it really, really well. George is just scoring goals for fun at the moment. He’s going to have a great career but we have to manage him correctly.”
Bullen admitted Wednesday are delighted with Hirst junior’s progress but warned: “It is a big step up. The Championship, in comparison to Under-18s football, is night and day.
“He will get his chance but you have to be mindful that if you put the kid in and things go wrong. If he has a bit of a stinker or things don’t go well for him, it could damage a kid’s career before it even starts.
“Carlos [Carvalhal] will know the right time.”