England U20s and Leuven striker George Hirst on the importance of positive coaching

Having come through the youth ranks with hometown club Sheffield Wednesday and representing England at four different age groups, it might appear that George Hirst has had a seemless career rise. But the Young Lion, who now plays in Belgium with OH Leuven, admits he experienced setbacks in his early days and as our 21 Days of Positivity continues, Hirst explains how important the belief of coaches and mentors in a young player can prove vital in development, no matter what level you’re playing at.

Tuesday 05 Feb 2019
George Hirst has represented England at U17, U18, U19 and U20 level in the last few years

It's massive, because everyone, every footballer, it doesn't matter how old you are, you will have tough times.

There will be someone who tells you that they don't think you're good enough, but the positivity from parents and coaches who do believe in you, who can say: 'look, it's not the end of the road...' is so important.

I was told by quite a number of people that I wasn't good enough, but having that support system there who can help you and keep you going is massive.

For me, I found it a massive help having people who just believed in me and my ability and that helped me to believe in myself.

My PE teacher at secondary school, he was always the one who when I had to go out on day release and the school wasn't sure if they wanted to let me go, he was always the one backing my corner.

So I've got to say thank-you to him and everyone else who has helped me on the way.

21 Days of Positivity is our Respect initiative for coaches and grassroots football clubs. Find out more details about Respect in 2019 and our ‘We only do positive’ campaign for grassroots football.

Are you interested in becoming a coach? Why not have a look at the courses on offer and start YOUR own journey in the game?

By George Hirst England U20s and OH Leuven