Size, stature and history all played a part but, Samir Carruthers has revealed, pragmatism also helped lure him to Bramall Lane.
The midfielder, who suffered an injury on his debut during Saturday’s victory over Southend, was a pivotal member of an MK Dons side which, until things went awry this season, won numerous plaudits for their attractive style of play.
Although United approach their work with a tenacity his former club lacked, Carruthers explained how competing against Chris Wilder’s side three months ago convinced him that heading north will prove a shrewd move.
“That’s probably one of the reasons why I’ve chosen to come here,” he said after signing a long-term contract last week. “I’ve seen how United play on TV and also played against them. They like to play good football and I like to get the ball down.
“I probably wouldn’t be too much use in a long-ball team, would I? I do like to get around the pitch and if I go a few minutes without touching the ball I start losing my head a bit.”
Signing Carruthers, who stands 5ft 8in tall, represents something of a coup for United who fended off interest from Charlton Athletic when it became clear Dons were prepared to do business now rather than allow him to leave for nothing at the end of the campaign.
At first glance, his presence represents the greatest threat to Stefan Scougall’s hopes of cementing a place in Wilder’s starting 11. But if the footballing landscape changes and United gain promotion, the pressure points might well change given the financial benefits some of those boasting long-term agreement would enjoy.
Carruthers’ decision to move north and commit himself to United until 2020 underlines his faith in Wilder’s masterplan.
“I understand these are the most important years coming up,” the Londoner said. “The move, from a very comfortable environment, because I’m from near MK, was difficult in one sense but easy in another because I’m coming to a huge club. I’ve had good backing from my family and they’ve helped me with this decision too.”