For Sheffield United striker Iliman Ndiaye, the World Cup this winter caps a remarkable rise which has seen him go from non-league to the very top in three years.
Ndiaye, who is Sheffield United’s joint top scorer with nine goals this season, has been called up to the Senegal squad for the World Cup in Qatar.
Senegal boasts a talented squad, of course. With that, Ndiaye’s chances of featuring in the starting XI are slimmer than they are at Bramall Lane. However, Ndiaye might well be called upon more quickly than some might expect thanks to the latest news on Sadio Mane.
Iliman Ndiaye could play for Senegal instead of Mane
Former Liverpool man Mane injured himself in his the final game with Bayern Munich. He has still been selected by Senegal. But according to Marca, he will be missing for the opening two games at least, potentially opening a door for Ndiaye.
Marca quotes Abdoulaye Sow as saying Mane will be missing. Sow, though, believes his nation will simply have to get on with things.
“We will have to rely on playing the first games without Sadio and win without Sadio because we have 25 players apart from Sadio. No one would have wanted it, but that’s what’s happened to us,” Sow said.
Ndiaye, then, will be waiting in the wings should he be called upon by manager Aliou Cisse.
Sheff U News View: Ndiaye will be chomping at the bit for World Cup chance
All eyes at Sheffield United will be on how Ndiaye does and if he features. The Blades have Adam Davies involved in Qatar as well. But the reality is that the excitement comes in the form of seeing Ndiaye feature for Senegal.
Of course, Ndiaye won’t wish bad on Sadio Mane. He is the best player for Senegal and Ndiaye would surely rather see the best players available.
However, this is a player who oozes self confidence and Ndiaye will be desperate to get some sort of nod to fill in for Mane.
It has opened a door for Ndiaye, this. And if he can capitalise and show the world what he’s all about, then that can only benefit both he and Sheffield United.
Iliman Ndiaye has two caps for Senegal so far and will be hoping to add to that in Qatar.