MARTIN SMITH COLUMN: Could George Hirst make Manchester United switch his dad David regretted not making?

Rumours have linked George Hirst with a switch to Manchester United
Rumours have linked George Hirst with a switch to Manchester United
0
Have your say

The George Hirst mystery appears to be coming to some kind of resolution.

Son of Owls’ god David Hirst, 19-year-old George has been a hot tip for a career at the top since he joined Sheffield Wednesday as a boy.

Now the highly-rated striker who has represented England at under-17, 18 and 19s levels is being tipped to join Manchester United after a protracted contract dispute has seen him out of Wednesday action all season.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that his dad looked certain to move in the same direction.

But David stayed at Hillsborough after manager Trevor Francis reportedly refused to let him go in 1992.

Alex Ferguson eventually signed former Owls trialist Eric Cantona instead.

We know how that one went.

David is on record saying that not moving to Old Trafford was the one regret of his career…

********

Athletes learn to love pain.

It tells them they are working to their maximum, pushing the boundary, forcing improvement.

Just as well.

Otherwise Sheffield-based Commonwealth Games Decathlon medal hopeful John Lane might have thought he had been doing something wrong all these years.

How about this for loving pain:

Two reconstruction operations on serious shoulder injuries by the time he was 17 - injuries that ended his dream of a career in rugby.

The time he tripped on a hurdle and the the stand flicked up and went straight through his thigh.

“It didn’t feel like it was that bad," the 29-year-old told the Commonwealth games website.

“I pulled my shorts up and there was a hole straight through, my leg had just split but the doctor did me a massive favour, I was stitched back up five minutes later.”

And then there was the skin cancer.

Aussie-raised Lane knew all about protecting himself from the sun but still had to have a cancerous mole removed from his hairline when he was 17.

Born in California to English parents, John moved to Australia when he was three and then to Sheffield after the 2012 Olympics to train at the English Institute of Sport with EIS with gold medallist Jessica Ennis.

It seems to have done the trick.

In January last year, he beat Olympian Alex Kruger’s 19-year record for indoor heptathlon at an international match in Sheffield.

Lane started his bid for Commonwealth decathlon Gold yesterday.

These next few days on the Gold Coast - almost a home fixture for Lane - should tell whether all that pain was worth it.