Young Sheffield Wednesday striker George Hirst will be a better player for his penalty miss for England in their victory over the Ivory Coast in the Toulon Tournament in France on Saturday evening.
With a young England side leading the match 1-0 through a David Brooks goal, Wednesday youngster Hirst missed a second half penalty before Ake Loba levelled matters with a spot kick of his own to force extra time. The additional 30-minute period produced no further goals and England were eventual 5-3 winners on penalties although Hirst did not participate in the shootout.
The 18-year-old’s disappointments in the Final will make the player stronger in the long term with Hirst being able to learn from his mistakes and having the opportunity to blossom into a top class striker. Overall, the tournament was a huge success for the player with Hirst sharing the Golden Boot with teammate Harvey Barnes and Angola’s Chico Banza after netting four goals including a hat-trick against Cuba in a 7-1 mauling in the group stages.
The 2016/2017 campaign saw Hirst make his senior debut for The Owls in the EFL Cup while he made one further appearance for Wednesday in a Sky Bet Championship fixture against Reading in December.
Despite that agonising penalty miss in France, Hirst should look back on the experience as a huge success and with Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal willing to offer youth a chance at Hillsborough, it will only be a matter of time before the player breaks into the side on a more regular basis.