Sheffield Wednesday: George Hirst is still a boy, he needs time - Carlos Carvalhal protecting his young striker
Sheffield Wednesday head coach Carlos Carvalhal won't bow to pressure from some fans to place teenage hot-shot George Hirst in Owls first-team squad.
The 17 year-old frontman came to further prominence last week with a two-goal haul for England under 18s in the Young Lions' victory over Poland at Stevenage.
With the senior side struggling to find the net, Hirst's international brace, coupled with a string of goals for his club's youth sides, led to calls from some sections of Wednesday's support for the youngster to be given a chance in the Championship.
Carvalhal gave Hirst, who signed his first professional contract earlier this year, his debut in the League Cup in August but for now that is as close as the son of Owls legend David will get to the first team.
The boss says he doesn't want the pressure of expectation to weigh heavily on the striker and risk his development.
"He has a long way to grow up," said Carvalhal. "We have to give time to him and don't put expectations very high because I don't want him to feel pressure.
"We know that since we came here we looked to the player and said to the club we wanted a professional contract with him, so we waited until he reached an age to give him a contract. He is under our umbrella, he is training with us sometimes, he played in the (League) Cup as you know.
"He is 17 years old, he's a boy, he is growing up, he needs time - if we talk to much about him it is not good for him because maybe people create expectations that are exaggerated and it is not good for the player.
"We are looking at him, we are knowing what we are doing, he is under 18 we are not talking about a player who is under 23, he is of big value to the club but he needs time to grow up with good foundations because we must protect him also."
Carvalhal added that Wednesday's options up front, anyway, mean that it is difficult to justify a place for a relatively untried teenager.
"We have Fletcher, we have Lucas, we have Gary Hooper, we have Nuhiu, we have five strikers in the team," he said.
"It is more easy to talk like this if we don't have the options we have. When you have players with quality at this time and you talk about a boy who is nearly 18 years old with time to grow up and give safe steps to him.
"It is better to give safe steps to him, a player who is scoring goals at under 18 and under 23 and in the correct time he will have a chance because absolutely sure he is a player with a bright future at Sheffield Wednesday.
"We must be careful talking about this. I saw a lot of situations like this where people are excited about one player and create expectations so high that the players never follows the expectations and we lose the players after one or two years. I don't want this to happen with George."