Danny Cowley insists Portsmouth is better fit for Leicester loanee George Hirst after striker's struggles at Rotherham

Danny Cowley admitted latest signing George Hirst has a real hunger to succeed as he welcomed the Leicester youngster to Fratton Park.

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 4:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 4:10 pm
Pompey have signed George Hirst on a season-long loan deal from Premier League side Leicester. Picture: Portsmouth FC

The 22-year-old has joined the Blues on a season-long loan after spending last term on loan at Rotherham in the Championship.

That switch to the Millers produced 32 appearances for the Paul Warne’s side.

However, Hirst failed to register a goal in that time, while only four of those outings came as league starts in the second tier as Rotherham finished 23rd.

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It’s a record that will no doubt come as a surprise to many of the Fratton faithful, who witnessed their front men struggle in front of goal last term as Pompey’s promotion push came up short.

Hirst will join John Marquis, Ellis Harrison and Gassan Ahadme in the striker pool available to Cowley, with Pompey’s League One season set to start on Saturday with an away trip to Fleetwood.

It remains to be seen where the former England youth international sits in the pecking order.

But Cowley is in no doubt what Hirst will bring to the side after admitting he’s been tracking the forward’s career very closely.

And he insisted the the Blues’ 10th new signing of the summer had a real desire to make his mark at Fratton Park.

Cowley said: ‘George is still a really young boy, but it feels as though he’s been around forever.

‘He played for Leicester’s feeder club in Belgium (OH Leuven) before signing for them and we’ve followed his career closely.

‘He didn’t have it all his own way at Rotherham last season. He didn’t play as much as he would have liked and it probably wasn’t the right fit for either party.

‘Sometimes that happens in football, but we like to sign players who have got a point to prove and we see a real hunger and desire to succeed in George.

‘When you don’t have everything your own way, it can really motivate you. We certainly believe in his abilities.’

Speaking about the qualities Hirst will bring to the team, Cowley said the former Sheffield Wednesday trainee would not only prove to be a good finisher but also someone whose all-round game would benefit the Blues moving forward.

The head coach added: ‘He fits our game idea, loves to run and has a real athleticism and intensity to his play, while he can bring others into his play and is a real team player.

‘We want to showcase an aggressive, high intensity style and need our number nine to have those qualities.

‘He’s got a lovely right foot and is a good finisher. We believe we can create the chances that George needs to score goals regularly.

‘There’s real potential there and we’ve got a lot of confidence in him – both as a player and as a person.’