Sheffield Wednesday: George Hirst and co can inspire the next generation, claims Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal

Connor O'Grady
Connor O'Grady

His ‘boys’ did him proud.

Carlos Carvalhal took great pride in blooding three of Wednesday’s young guns this week.

George Hirst

George Hirst

His Owls team were cruelly knocked out of the EFL Cup at the first round stage on Tuesday, losing 2-1 after extra time away to Cambridge United, but boss Carvalhal was full of praise for Connor O’Grady, James Murphy and George Hirst.

The trio were given a taste of the limelight and didn’t let Carvalhal down.

Centre-half O’Grady completed the full match while American midfielder Murphy and striker Hirst, the son of Wednesday great David, were introduced as substitutes.

If you include goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith and utility player Liam Palmer, five Owls academy graduates featured at the Cambs Glass Stadium.

The chances are that O’Grady, Murphy and Hirst would not have been handed a first-team opportunity if Carvalhal had a larger senior squad at his disposal.

Nonetheless, the Portuguese head coach hopes the emergence of O’Grady, Murphy and Hirst will inspire Hillsborough’s next generation of young talent.

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“The boys did very well and that was a big positive for us,” Carvalhal told The Star.

“It is a great experience for them playing in matches like this.

“Connor played fantastic. He played really well and so did Murphy.

“George gave energy to the team when he came on.

“It’s good for the academy that they played. It gives confidence to everybody and everybody can think they can play in the first eleven.”

Carvalhal fears Ross Wallace could miss Saturday’s trip to Norwich City. The Scot was the only player to start the Aston Villa and Cambridge fixtures.

He admitted: “We are not sure whether Ross will recover for Saturday.”

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After dismissing talk of striker Fernando Forestieri leaving Hillsborough, Carvalhal stressed the priority for Wednesday is to bolster their options before the transfer window shuts at the end of the month.

“We are trying to improve the team,” he said. “We are not complete. We have some gaps.

“We try to do the best deals to see which players we can bring to help us. We are not sleeping.

“It (the deals) is not in my hands as I don’t negotiate the players but let’s see if the players are coming or not.

“We are working on things.”

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