Sheffield United: The Iliman Ndiaye attribute that most impressed international boss after he makes Senegal debut

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Iliman Ndiaye’s versatility is expected to earn him more opportunities on the international stage after the Sheffield United forward made his debut for Senegal over the weekend.

Ndiaye, who was drafted into Aliou Cissé’s squad for their African Cup of Nations qualifiers on the back of an impressive breakthrough season with the Blades, which saw him score four times in his last seven games as United fell just short of reaching the Championship play-off final.

Ndiaye, who was born in France but qualifies for Senegal through his father, made his international debut on Saturday, replacing Boulaye Dia in the 67th minute of Senegal’s comfortable 3-1 win.

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The 22-year-old will hope to win his second cap tonight when Cissé’s side take on Rwanda and the coach said: “Iliman was very happy to be here. He had very, very big eyes since the beginning of the week.

“He’s a boy who has quality, capable of playing everywhere. He has a good mentality, so yes we will continue to follow him.”

The Blades forward was one of three new players called up to the senior squad, and fulfilled his initiation ceremony by dancing in front of his new teammates – including Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Édouard Mendy of Chelsea.

“The three new players are players that we think have potential to come in in this selection,” Cissé added.

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lliman Ndiaye of Sheffield United is now a full international player: Simon Bellis / Sportimagelliman Ndiaye of Sheffield United is now a full international player: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
lliman Ndiaye of Sheffield United is now a full international player: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

“Iliman is a boy who plays in the Championship. It is a division which is obviously below the Premier League that you are used to seeing but the Championship is a very tough league.

“Very difficult, very physical; there is a lot of intensity. He was still rather decisive where he scored six goals and he has room for improvement.

“He is a boy who is able to play on the entire front of the attack. Left winger, right winger, under the attacking striker, left attacker, right attacker. So I think it’s interesting to see him and bring him in, so that they can understand what his status is in this national team and what is expected of him. He has a good margin of progress also.”

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