'Experience' was the buzzword for Chris Wilder as the Sheffield United boss expressed his delight at having made Richard Stearman his fifth signing of the summer.
The former Fulham central defender who spent last season on loan at Wolves, agreed a three-year deal at Bramall Lane on Thursday, following on from the addition of Ched Evans, George Baldock, Enda Stevens and Nathan Thomas to the Blades' ranks.
Stearman has well over 300 senior appearances under his belt, the vast majority of which have come in the Championship and it is that know-how of a new division for United following their extended exile in League One, that Wilder believes will be key.
Speaking as his players were put through their paces, away from the pitch and in the boxing ring with GB Boxing coaches at the EIS as part of their pre-season training, Wilder says that while he is happy to look further down the leagues for players, a calming presence on the pitch is essential if they are to compete in the second tier.
"He's a team player, a team man, great experience in the Championship, played all his career in the Championship," said Wilder. "We felt with the market we are in, we have to be a little creative with the players that we brought out of League Two and League One but we are always looking for a little bit of experience, giving us that calming composure that we might need, obviously in a tough division, and Richard brings all those qualities."
Stearman turns 30 next month and while his career has taken him from Leicester where he began, to Wolverhampton, twice, Ipswich and Fulham, Wilder is of the opinion that the West Midlands born defender has even better times ahead of him.
"Everybody I spoke to, the one thing that is consistent is his attitude, which fits in with the way we work," added Wilder. "He's a leader and looking at his age, he's 30 I think and possibly his best years might be in front of him.
"He brings an attitude to us on a Monday to Friday and brings the experience and calming play because we'll need that this year. It's not going to be like last year where we tread all over teams. There are some powerful teams in this division so we are going to have to defend a lot more than what we did and with that we are going to need experience and quality."