Head and shoulders slumped after another fleeting appearance, there stood Luis Semedo, being consoled by a Coventry player at full time on Saturday. It was perhaps the perfect visual metaphor for his time at Sunderland so far.
Just a few months ago, Semedo took a gamble when he left Benfica’s youth academy, swapping one Stadium of Light for another.
The dream is a simple one: lead the line, score goals and establish himself as yet another thrilling prospect to come from the heart of Lisbon.
Fast forward a few weeks, however, and Hemir cuts a frustrated figure.
With just over four games of senior football played, the striker has spent most of his time in red and white as an isolated character, playing as our lone striker and battling against weathered defenders with hundreds of games’ worth of experience behind them.
Another fleeting appearance against Coventry has done nothing to improve the waning confidence of a young striker who’s desperate to make an impact but currently limited by both circumstance and opportunity.
Recent weeks have seen him pass from pillar to post, from being selected in the starting eleven for our league opener against Ipswich to being relegated to the Under 21’s team days later.
It was decided in that period of time that playing against League Two side Crewe Alexandra wouldn’t be beneficial to him as much as a combined thirty minutes’ worth of game time split across Preston and Rotherham, with another eighteen-minute cameo against Coventry eventually taking his total minutes in a Sunderland shirt beyond the one hundred mark.
To light the spark on Hemir’s Wearside career, it’s clear that his confidence needs a shot in the arm, whether that’s from the backing of the management to lead the line in our upcoming games or being taken out of the firing line completely in order to build his confidence away from the searing spotlight of Championship football.
This is a decision for individuals far more qualified than myself, but what’s key is that Hemir is lifted up, supported and encouraged as he makes his way in the professional game.
As is the case with new signings, they all need time and encouragement.
It’s rare to see players arrive, especially from elsewhere in Europe, and seamlessly slot into a new team, and Hemir won’t be an exception to this.
As fans, we need to show patience and offer encouragement, which is something we’ve done with a series of players over the last eighteen months or so. A great example of how this can be rewarded is illustrated with the emergence of Amad Diallo during his loan spell last season.
The sights on Saturday were painful to watch, if only for a few moments, but they should make people realise that this is a young man in a new country who’s experiencing professional football in one of the most physical and competitive leagues in the world.
Hemir has made a bold decision to come to Sunderland at such a young age, and let’s hope that everyone works together to ensure that it pays dividends for all.