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A host of clubs are still sniffing around Sheffield Wednesday’s 18-year-old striker George Hirst during this transfer window, with Newcastle reportedly being one of them. Rafael Benitez is keen to look after Newcastle’s future years and does not see anyone quite with Hirst’s ability coming through the ranks at Benton.
Hirst is carrying quite a reputation at present but has nothing tangible to back it up in first team football. The young striker was given just 13 minutes of football in the Championship last season by the Owls and a further 28 in the League Cup.
Despite this, agents and scouts have been circling around him like vultures over the past year or so and soon enough, a serious bid will come in to entice him to the Premier League. Would he be right for Newcastle in their current guise though?
I’d say in the current climate he is exactly what Newcastle United need. It remains to be seen how good Tom Heardman is and Adam Armstrong looks increasingly unlikely to make it at the top level. So the club do not have a richly packed conveyor belt of young talent up front.
Add to this the fact that the club cannot afford to spend £30million each summer on new strikers when needed. So the chance of bringing through a young talented forward destined for the top should be jumped upon.
Hirst was a firm part of the England under-18’s squad which won the Toulon tournament this summer, missing a penalty in the final but scored once against Japan and netted a hat-trick against Cuba. His goal scoring prowess, within his own age group anyway, is marvellous and with natural progression, he will be among the better finishers in the country before long.
Rafa Benitez, although has so far been wisely thinking of the short to medium term with his squad building, knows fully well as to how important it is for clubs like Newcastle to think of the future. But given the years of poor management within the club, development has not been earth shattering.
In a large, one-club city, where the vast majority of the population love football, you can guarantee that there are thousands of kids coming through the school ranks every year, who could, in theory, be professional players.
The fact that no Gascoignes, Shearers, Carricks or Beardsleys are coming through is because the machine is not well oiled. But given their position in the marketplace, Newcastle can still attract potential top talent to the club from other areas, and this could be a prime example.