Sheffield United: 'These are the people who helped us keep Iliman Ndiaye'

Paul Heckingbottom, the Sheffield United manager, and chief executive Steve Bettis have been praised for their roles in ensuring Iliman Ndiaye remained at Bramall Lane before his recent call-up by Senegal.

Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 5:00 am

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The midfielder, who made his international debut earlier this month during a win over Benin, emerged as one of the most influential members of Championship club’s squad last season - establishing a formidable partnership with former loanee Morgan Gibbs-White and Sander Berge.

But Abdullah Alghamdi, the CEO of United World, has revealed how close Ndiaye came to leaving South Yorkshire at the beginning of the previous campaign - when a contract dispute stalled his progress.

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lliman Ndiaye (C) is a key player for Sheffield United: Darren Staples / Sportimage

Although Heckingbottom’s predecessor Slavisa Jokanovic is known to have intervened before being sacked in November, both the 44-year-old and Bettis helped resolve the situation too according to Alghamdi - whose organisation oversee United owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s portfolio of sporting interests.

“We were about to lose Iliman,” Alghamdi told The Star. “And the credit for keeping him goes to the people in the club today. Steve Bettis, Hecky, Jack (Lester) and Stuart (McCall).”

McCall and Lester, United’s assistant manager and head of player development respectively, have also worked extensively with Ndiaye in recent months after being impressed by his progress since arriving from non-league Boreham Wood.

United World CEO Abdullah Alghamdi

With England under-19 international Daniel Jebbison also hoping to cement his place in Heckingbottom’s plans next term, Alghamdi said: “Now we have Daniel Jebbison and others too. We have a lot of talent in our academy and we want to make sure we have a pathway for them.”

Paul Heckingbottom, manager of Sheffield United: Simon Bellis / Sportimage