Tottenham Hotspur v Sheffield United: Quiet man Cameron Archer's arrogance looks ideal for task ahead

To see Cameron Archer in front of the media on Thursday was to see a different persona to Sheffield United’s Premier League debutant less than a fortnight earlier.

That one exuded an arrogance in the way strikers should – arrogant enough to wear the "iconic" No 10 shirt, arrogant enough to believe he could beat England’s best goalkeeper from distance, scoring with minimal backlift, arrogant enough to slide on his knees and mime firing an arrow from a bow in case anyone was unsure this was Archer.

It perhaps should come as no surprise. After all, he had been arrogant enough to think, after an excellent Championship loan at Middlesbrough last season including two goals at Bramall Lane, that at 21 he could wait no longer for regular Premier League football, and that he could keep those well-practiced celebrations coming in a side many view as relegation certs.

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A word that can be used as a criticism in many walks of life can be anything but in sport, particularly for those with the job of scoring goals. Archer’s arrogance was great to see, and the Blades will need more at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

But the man in front of the microphones was very quietly spoken and without bluster, uninterested in being “the main man”.

You might think it signaled a complex character but already against Everton Gustavo Hamer seemed to have worked out where to put the ball for the centre-forward; he and Oli McBurnie have an instant understanding.

Manager Paul Heckingbottom seems to think he has a good handle on Archer too.

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Better known beyond Shirecliffe for occasional moments of daftness, McBurnie has been an important guiding figure for new Blades. His bond with James McAtee was a big help to the youngster last season and already Archer is getting the benefit.

CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES: Cameron Archer marks his first goal for Sheffield United in trademark fashionCELEBRATE GOOD TIMES: Cameron Archer marks his first goal for Sheffield United in trademark fashion
CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES: Cameron Archer marks his first goal for Sheffield United in trademark fashion

“He’s helped me, outside of football, looking for apartments,” says Archer of the Leeds-born striker.

“Oli likes to compete a lot with the defenders. Me, I’ll run in bind and be sharp around the box.”

After Aston Villa loaned him to Solihull Moors, Preston North End and Middlesbrough before his £18.5m move to South Yorkshire, Archer has had to learn a lot about forming new relationships.

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"The bigger (strikers), like Oli, I think they click a lot sooner than maybe Chuba Akpom (at Boro), who scored a lot more goals than I did,” he comments.

SAME WAVELENGTH: Cameron Archer and Oli McBurnie demonstrated a good understanding against EvertonSAME WAVELENGTH: Cameron Archer and Oli McBurnie demonstrated a good understanding against Everton
SAME WAVELENGTH: Cameron Archer and Oli McBurnie demonstrated a good understanding against Everton

"I think it kind of clicked in the game. We had the Carabao Cup game but it was a different kind of feeling, a different kind of game.

"When you're a good player you know each other's strengths and you've got to make sure you're playing to each other's strengths because if you don't what's the point?"

That last sentence speaks volumes.

"He's a quiet lad but he's driven, he's serious, wants to do well, keen on scoring goals, keen on improving," says Heckingbottom.

IMPRESSED: Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom likes Cameron Archer's characterIMPRESSED: Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom likes Cameron Archer's character
IMPRESSED: Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom likes Cameron Archer's character
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"I think the fact he's chosen to leave Villa shows that, the fact he's come to us shows that as well. He knows it's certainly not going to be easy here, he knows there's going to be big asks of him but he liked how we wanted to work, what Jack (Lester, Sheffield United's striker coach) showed him and they had five minutes after training talking about a certain type of finish.

"I think that was a big thing in him wanting to come here as well as the Premier League, as well as already experiencing Bramall Lane.

"He's quiet but I get the feeling he's pleased with his choice."

That drive to be better is a Heckingbottom pre-requisite.

"We can't afford not to work that way but it's really important to attract players from other teams," he says. "We have to make the best of every penny we've got.

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"No doubt Cameron could have got more money elsewhere but it's about the football and the environment."

A buy-back clause means he could yet return to Villa, but there seems no more danger of him being distracted by that than intimidated by the task ahead.

"They call us underdogs, we’re just here to prove we can compete in the Premier League,” he says. “I’m going to try and keep them up this season, that’s the most important thing.

“I just want to keep my head down and keep working hard. I have that belief now. I’ve just got to use it.

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"Every time I've made my debut I've scored but I think it would make a difference (to confidence).

"Last season, I didn’t really think about the numbers (of goals he scored) until the end when I looked back on them.

"I don't worry too much about pressure and stuff, I just like to keep my game how it is. Every opportunity on the pitch I work hard."

Which is why inheriting Billy Sharp's No 10 shirt holds no fears either. Another former occupant, Brian Deane, has already given his stamp of approval.

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"The No 10 is an iconic shirt and I want to be as successful as they were," says Archer.

“I don’t like to think about being the main man. It’s an iconic shirt and I just want to make sure I’m doing well and working hard.”

Sheffield United have a player full of determination and self-belief.

It is often the quiet ones you have to watch out for.