Sheffield United: Youngster set for a starring role after receiving a glowing reference from Slavisa Jokanovic

Iliman Ndiaye is set for a more prominent role at Sheffield United after resolving his contract issues with the club, following manager Slavisa Jokanovic’s admission the youngster can make an immediate impact upon results.

Thursday, 9th September 2021, 10:20 pm

Ndiaye ended weeks of speculation about his future by signing a new three year deal during the international break, having previously been set to become a free agent next summer.

Aged 21, the midfielder is known to have impressed Jokanovic with his performances behind the scenes and, after making a substitute appearance during the EFL Cup victory over Derby County, was invited to travel with the senior squad to the recent Championship fixture with Luton Town.

As The Star revealed earlier this year, politics have been responsible for limiting Ndiaye’s opportunities since making his professional debut against Leicester City six months ago.

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Iliman Ndiaye: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

But with the situation now being resolved - and Jokanovic personally championing his case - the former Boreham Wood player is now set to be let off the leash.

“Iliman, we know him very well,” Jokanovic said, ahead of Peterborough’s visit to South Yorkshire on Saturday. “I expect he can be a very interesting player for us.

“He has different qualities and some of that quality can make a big difference for us and be very valuable for us right now. He is another one to add to the group.”

With Morgan Gibbs-White and Conor Hourihane both expected to make their first appearances for United this weekend after arriving on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa respectively, Jokanovic’s decision to shoehorn Ndiaye’s name into the conversation about events during the transfer window confirms how highly he rates his talent.

Slavisa Jokanovic: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

Robin Olsen, whose temporary switch from AS Roma was completed on deadline day, could also feature if medics tasked with ensuring United comply with Covid-19 protocols give the goalkeeper the all-clear. Wes Foderingham is likely to feature if the Swede does not receive the necessary permissions.

United enter the meeting with Darren Ferguson’s side still searching for their first league win since being relegated from the Premier League last term. Jokanovic, who officially started work in July, believes the presence of “clean minds” unscarred by the experience of losing top-flight status will not only lead to an upturn in results but also improve morale among the players he inherited.

“Conor, you know him very well if you follow Championship football,” Jokanovic said. “He has been promoted from this division and is very experienced.

“He has a very good left foot, is important at set-pieces and also brings a creative tension and a clean mind from a different team.

Iliman Ndiaye during a development league game: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“In Morgan, we have a young guy with great desire to improve himself and is looking for the space to find more time on the pitch. We have a really positive impression after working with him over the last week.”

“Conor, he started training with us on Thursday and Morgan has been with us for a week now,” he added. “With Robin, we will have to see what happens with the situation and we are waiting to learn more. When we do, we will make a decision but we know what he brings.”