Iliman Ndiaye has to play for Sheffield United despite lack of goals
The idea of dropping Iliman Ndiaye for Sheffield United v Millwall is frankly ridiculous
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The idea of dropping Iliman Ndiaye for Sheffield United v Millwall is frankly ridiculous

Sheffield United lost against Middlesbrough in midweek and judging by the reaction of some on social media, you’d assume we were bottom and heading into League One.

Beaten by the better side on the night in a good game of Championship football, United simply didn’t take their chances while Middlesbrough showed confidence to take theirs. That’s all it was, really. At the end of the day, United can’t win every single game.

Of course, the pressure is on now at Millwall. The Blades must bounce back with a win. A defeat and a Boro win narrows the gap to four points, where it really will start to feel like the pressure is on.

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However, one idea being floated about by some is the idea we ‘rest’ or drop Iliman Ndiaye. The Senegal forward only has one goal in his last 15. On paper, yes, it might look logical to move him out of the XI.

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But the reality is completely different. Frankly, the idea of dropping Ndiaye is one of the most bizarre suggestions of the season.

Ndiaye doing everything but score for United

Goals catch the eye. We all know that. They are the most basic of statlines to look at. And a lot of the time, if a striker is not scoring, then their overall game is struggling as well.

But with Iliman Ndiaye, that is simply not the case.

Against Middlesbrough, Ndiaye was everywhere. He chased, harried, won the ball back, dribbled, and created chances.

Per Whoscored, Ndiaye completed three successful dribbles (a team high), made two defensive tackles, had three shots on goal, and completed 86% of his passes. Hardly the basic stats of a man struggling for form.

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On the eye, Ndiaye is also doing everything but score. There were times against Boro where he wriggled out of tight situations into space. He was a nightmare at times for the Boro defence, especially with the game at 1-1. Granted, he faded a tad in the second half.

But the notion that Sheffield United drop Ndiaye for Millwall is bizarre. For one, who comes in? And secondly, what team drops their best player for a huge game in the capital?

If Paul Heckingbottom is to take Ndiaye out today, it’s surely only with fitness in mind. Anything else, and it will go down as one of the oddest calls of the season.

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