Sheffield United: Iliman Ndiaye's Champions League target revealed after Sadio Mane news boosts his World Cup hopes

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Iliman Ndiaye has set his sights on playing in the Champions League one day, one of his former coaches has claimed, after the Sheffield United man saw his hopes of appearing at the Qatar World Cup potentially boosted.

The youngster has been named in Aliou Cisse’s Senegal squad for the tournament, with their tournament kicking off on Monday against the Netherlands. But they were rocked yesterday by confirmation that Sadio Mane, their star forward, will miss the tournament with injury – potentially opening the door for Ndiaye to continue his remarkable trajectory with a World Cup appearance.

If he was to shine in Qatar, no-one at Bramall Lane would be surprised. Ndiaye has wowed United crowds with both his ability but also his attitude and work-rate off the ball, establishing himself as a key man essentially just over a year after signing his first professional contract. His nine goals so far this season have helped send United second in the Championship table going into the World Cup break and if Ndiaye’s career continues in a similar trajectory, earning Premier League football may end up being the biggest hope of Unitedites enjoying Ndiaye in a red and white shirt for much longer.

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Out of contract in 2024, he is a player going places and, as his former coach at Rising Ballers Mahrez Bettache revealed, has ambitions of going to the very top of club football. “You can never be comfortable as a footballer, and that’s the good thing about Iliman,” Bettache told The Mirror. “He is always looking for the next step. I spoke to him three or four days ago, and we are always challenging each other and setting goals for him to reach. He’s got aspirations to play in the Champions League one day.”

Ndiaye’s performances for the Rising Ballers side helped put him on United’s radar, after a spell in non-league with Boreham Wood. “Iliman is probably the best freestyler/footballer I know to this day,” Bettache added. “The things he does with the ball are just incredible.”

After their opener against the Netherlands, Ndiaye and Senegal face Qatar on Friday, November 25 and complete their Group A commitments the following Tuesday against Ecuador.

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