Sheffield United have endured a winless start upon their return to the Premier League but it has not been without its highlights. Gustavo Hamer, their £15m signing from Coventry, offers encouragement that they have what it takes to stay up.

Hamer scored a sensational goal against Nottingham Forest on his Premier League debut, worked tirelessly in a narrow defeat to Manchester City and was instrumental at home to Everton – setting up Cameron Archer for the second goal with the pass of the match.

Two elements are surely going to be key for Sheffield United – hard work and quality. Hamer has shown both in abundance. The Brazilian-born Dutchman plays with personality too, something Blades boss Paul Heckingbottom spotted in him years ago.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Sheffield United’s Premier League clash with Everton

He recalls watching one of Hamer’s early appearances for Coventry with a colleague. “I said, ‘I would like to work with him’. He is tenacious. He is all action. He is brave to get on the ball, he is not scared to risk the ball, he is prepared to make things happen.”

That hooked pass to Archer was superb. It does not register as his first assist in a Sheffield United shirt, the striker’s shot ricocheting in off Jordan Pickford for an own goal, but it demonstrated this ability to create. The pass was unsighted but he had a picture.

That capacity to create is going to be crucial for a team looking to rebuild their attack while adjusting to a higher level following the sale of star man Iliman Ndiaye. Hamer is a risk taker, occasionally dispossessed in deeper areas. But he cannot be discouraged.

“I do not want any fear in the team,” Heckingbottom tells Sky Sports. “If we give the ball away I am not bothered. I am bothered if somebody does not want to get on the ball. If you do not want to get on the ball, that is when you are a problem for us.

“You cannot be not getting on the ball because you are fearful of making mistakes. You cannot be not making the back post because you are fearful of missing a chance. You just can’t. We have to play without fear to have any chance of competing.”

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Watch the best angles of Gustavo Hamer’s incredible strike against Nottingham Forest

At Coventry, his manager Mark Robins once joked that Hamer’s delivery from corners was being affected by him concentrating on clapping his adoring supporters rather than putting the ball into the box. “I am sure he loves the adulation,” claimed Robins.

But his new team need a bit of that.

A player who wants to the centre of attention on the biggest stage.

“We lost a couple of big players, big personalities,” says Heckingbottom. “So, we needed to replace them with big players and big personalities. It was really important that we did that. We tried to recruit character, recruit Premier League quality and athleticism.”

That athleticism has stood out too.

Even late in the game against Everton, Hamer was doing his defensive work, blocking a shot from Dwight McNeil in the 96th minute of the game and winning it back again in the 97th minute. It was impressive given what he had already put in off the ball.

That conspicuous effort has been a feature of Hamer’s game in these first three Premier League appearances. Against Manchester City, in particular, the sight of him joining the attacks and then sprinting, head down, back into position was an abiding memory.

The data shows that Hamer is registering 11.44 sprinting pressures per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season. A sprinting pressure is defined as an occasion when a player closes down an opponent at a sustained speed of 25 kilometres per hour or greater.

Sheffield United's Gustavo Hamer ranks highly for sprinting pressures in the Premier League this season

Hamer ranks second in the Premier League for those sprinting pressures. His average sustained maximum speed when pressing is the fifth highest of anyone too. He is closing down opponents at pace and he is doing it often. Just the intensity that his team needs.

“He will compete, he will tackle, he will run back,” says Heckingbottom. “People like that are infectious.” Indeed, that is the manager’s hope. “If you are able to acquire people like that, you are almost sending that message to other people, aren’t you?”

Sheffield United's Gustavo Hamer ranks highly for average maximum sustained speed when pressing in the Premier League this season

That enthusiasm can see Hamer find himself in a variety of different positions. His goal against Forest came from the left edge of the penalty box. His cross to the feet of Oli McBurnie for the equaliser against Everton came from out on the right wing.

His manager wants flexibility – and discipline. “Within our tactical framework, he just needs to know his role, depending on our tactical setup and what shape the opposition is playing, and we will be on at him on that 100 per cent. We want that really clear,” he says.

But the role is unlikely to stay the same. “If we are a three-man midfield he could be one of the 8s. If we are playing two 6s he could be one of them if we are playing a 10. Or he could be one of the 10s if we are playing three forward. He has that versatility.”

Whether floating behind the forwards or popping up in wide areas, it is already clear that getting the best from Hamer will be key to Sheffield United’s hopes. “I would not want to pigeon-hole him and put shackles on him on the pitch,” concludes Heckingbottom.

“When we have the ball, he can do what he wants.”

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