Leicester City striker George Hirst: I was disheartened and contemplated quitting Portsmouth in January - then everything changed
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Then arrived the game changer which would set the talented striker on the way to finishing as the Blues’ 15-goal top scorer.
By November, Hirst had failed to net in his opening 13 outings for the Blues, while had still to be handed a League One start.
The 23-year-old admits it left him contemplating cutting short his scheduled season-long loan at January’s halfway point.
However, injury to John Marquis and an eye-catching Papa John’s Trophy performance against Crystal Palace under-21s saw him granted a league start at Wycombe.
And Hirst would subsequently flourish.
He told The News: ‘I thought about quitting Pompey in January, definitely in my head.
‘It got to the point where I just wanted to play games and wasn’t too fussed about where that was going to be at that point.
‘I can’t sit here and say there was no chance I would have left in January, because there was.
‘It was getting to that time where I had to make a decision whether it was the right move and right place for me – or whether there was somewhere else I could go and play my football.
‘Then Crystal Palace happened and the following Saturday I was in that team at Wycombe. Certain things dropped into place and I got fortunate.
‘That was the last I thought about going back to Leicester to be honest, then it was this is me now, I’m here and I’m here to stay.
‘Before then, though, it wasn’t nice and wasn’t easy to deal with, but I knew there was going to be a chance at some point. It was just a matter of how long it was going to take.
‘Once I got the opportunity I knew I had to take it because either I took it or, if I didn’t, I was going back to Leicester in January.
‘They were my two options at the time. It was down to me to take it.’
Hirst bagged his maiden Pompey goal during that November 3-0 success over Crystal Palace under-21s which earned competition progress.
From that moment, coupled with Marquis' initial injury unavailability, the former Sheffield Wednesday man was first choice.
Hirst added: ‘Palace was almost a bit of I have nothing to lose, I can’t play my way out of the team because at the minute I’m not in it.
‘To me it was “I’m going to go out there, play my game and stuff everything else”.
‘The last thing I said to myself before the game was don’t bother trying too hard because the second you do then you start getting yourself into a bit of a mess.
‘I played 28 games off the bench for Rotherham last season and didn’t score.
‘I am the kind of player that needs to get into the game and needs to be out there from the first minute.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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