Ribchester, Lancashire born centre forward George Smithies played for leading amateur team Northern Nomads from 1928 while training to be a teacher, and maintained his amateur status throughout his football career. He joined Second Division Preston North End in 1929, making his Football League debut against Bradford Park Avenue the same November, scoring in a 4-1 victory. He scored an impressive 6 goals that month as Preston won 4 of their 5 matches, but managed only 4 more goals in 13 more games before the end of the season. In 1930-31 he found opportunities limited and played only twice more for the Deepdale club. He joined First Division Birmingham in 1931, playing his only top flight match in a 3-2 defeat at Everton in August 1931, after which he joined non league Darley Dale in 1932, also playing for Northern Nomads.
While a Preston player, he was selected to play at inside right for The Rest, to play against the England amateur team in an international trial. The Rest outplayed England, particularly in the forward play, winning 7-0. Smithies scored three and was involved in two others, a performance which secured his selection for the forthcoming international in which England’s amateurs beat their Welsh counterparts 2-0 at Aberystwyth in February 1930. Smithies scored both goals, and was described as having “led the forwards with dash”. He appeared in England amateurs’ next match a month later, though with less success as England lost 1-0 to Scotland at Hampden Park. He was recalled to the amateurs team, scoring as they beat Ireland 3-2 at Bootham Crescent in November 1931, the match proved to be his third and final cap.