Paul Heckingbottom admits he was “delighted” for new signing Cameron Archer as he opened his league account for Sheffield United at the first time of asking this afternoon. Archer scored the Blades’ first and made the second in a 1-1 draw with Everton.
The England U21 man curled home a great finish to drag the Blades level before his curling effort hit the post and rebounded into the Everton net off an unfortunate Jordan Pickford, who later redeemed himself with a stunning double save to deny Oli McBurnie in the 99th minute at Bramall Lane.
The draw gave both sides a first point of the season, with Archer becoming the youngest English-born player to score on his first top-flight start since Matty Longstaff’s strike against Manchester United in 2019 at 19 years and 199 days old.
On Archer, Heckingbottom said: “I was delighted for him. There were lots of things about Cam that I like. First and foremost, what people expect and know about - and especially when you speak to him - is that he wants to score goals.
“That is what he enjoys. But he also works hard and physically he is very good and we will improve that area of him as well. To use that physicality when he hasn’t got the ball and get him in the best areas when he has. We are pleased to have him. He couldn’t have had a better debut, really. He’s off the mark, up and running and looks fit. It’s the most minutes he’s played as well and he’s going to get stronger.”
On Pickford’s moment of magic, Heckingbottom added: “I wondered if he’d actually saved that and it was an unreal save. With the second one, he didn’t know too much about it. It hit his head and hit the post. It’s big moments and another example of why we love the game and how fine the margins are.
“We are not stupid, we know we are going to need a lot of those moments to go in our favour this season. Of course we are. Today, it didn’t. But I cannot grumble. It was a really good game, and probably a fair result.”