George Hirst out to 'emulate and better' his England international and Sheffield Wednesday legend dad David

But when your father is a former England forward who shot to stardom banging them in Sheffield Wednesday in the top-flight, the weight of expectancy is bigger than most.

David Hirst scored over 100 goals in the old Division One and Premier League for the Owls after moving to Hillsborough from Barnsley in 1986 and later Southampton.

That led to international recognition in 1991 – with the hitman finding the target once in his three caps for the Three Lions.

But 19-year-old Hirst is already on his way to emulating his father – and the ace is hoping this season can be his big breakthrough after leaving boyhood club Wednesday to join Nigel Pearson’s OH Leuven in the Belgium second tier.

However, the England U20s hotshot is adamant that he is a different type of finisher from his dad as he spoke of his determination to outdo his old man’s achievements.

Speaking exclusively to SunSport, Hirst said: “I don’t feel the pressure that people perhaps put on me.

“I’ve watched videos of my dad time and again and we are very different players. He was 5ft 11in, I’m 6ft 4in, so straight away there is a huge difference.

“So I don’t see the pressure that other people seem to make themselves.

“I just want to try and emulate what my dad did and do better than that.”

Hirst, who made his senior debut for Wednesday last season, added: “My dad has always told me to keep my head down and keep working hard and just to go out there and do what I do.

“Hopefully, if I can keep doing that, then I can go on to have an even more successful career than he did.”

Hirst burst on to the England youth stage in just his second appearance for his country when scoring a hat-trick against Germany in an Under-17 match.

He has found the net 14 times for the Young Lions since and is now hoping to take that form in to club level after taking the brave decision to leave Wednesday and try his luck abroad.

Hirst said: “It first came about due to my dad and the manager out there being very close through when they played together for Sheffield Wednesday back in the day.

“When the opportunity came about and I spoke to the gaffer I came away believing it was the right move for me to go and get game time at a good level in the first-team.


  • Full name: George David Eric Hirst
  • DOB: February 15, 1999 (age 19)
  • Place of birth: Sheffield
  • Position: Forward
  • Club: OH Leuven
  • Former clubs: Sheffield Wednesday
  • International: Represented England at U20, U19, U18 and U17 level
  • Fun fact: His father was a legendary striker for Sheffield Wednesday back in 1990s and won three England caps. He also holds the Premier League record for the fastest shot recorded in the top-flight with a 114mph effort against Arsenal

“It will allow me to just focus on football after a tough year last season.”

And Hirst, who has just returned to Belgium after featuring for England at this month’s U19 European Championship, will be itching to get off to a flying start to the new campaign.

He is expected to make his bow for Leuven when Mechelen come to town in the season’s opener on Saturday.

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