Sheffield United striker Iliman Ndiaye has admitted he tried to get on the books of a number of Premier League clubs, including Chelsea, before signing for the Blades.
Ndiaye has been a revelation this season as his form has catapulted United towards promotion as well as a place in the FA Cup semi-final. The Senegal forward will get his big moment tomorrow at Wembley, where he’ll hope impress against Manchester City.
However, it seems United are lucky to have Ndiaye on the books. Speaking in an interview with SoFoot, Ndiaye has admitted he tried to get signed by a number of PL sides.
Ndiaye to Chelsea
Speaking to SoFoot, Ndiaye spoke of his hardships trying to earn a contract in England. And in doing so, he revealed he was rejected by the likes of Spurs, Chelsea, Southampton and more.
“At first, it was very difficult. I joined my father who was in London, in Manor Park not far from West Ham, for work. The first week, I did a seven-day internship at Manchester United, but nothing happened for me behind. Then I did many tests, internships that did not succeed: Reading, Chelsea, Tottenham, Southampton,” Ndiaye said.
“There were recruiters every time, and I remember in Reading, the guy was telling me, “Go tackle, go do this, go do that.” I did everything he asked of me, but it wasn’t enough. Yet I was the best in all the internships I went to. I was told that I was too small to join the academies of these clubs. The guy from Reading told me, “You’re never going to play in any academy.”
“For three, four years it was like that. I am 17-18 years old, after another disappointment with the Saints, I was in tears. But that didn’t discourage me. I still believed in it.”
Sheffield United News View: Chelsea’s loss is Blades’ gain
There will be countless players among the divisions that have similar experiences to Ndiaye. It seems that a lot of young players get overlooked by big teams before going on to have big careers elsewhere.
For Sheffield United, it matters little now. Thankfully Paul Mitchell and his team were on hand to see Ndiaye’s potential and the rest, as they say, is history.
Ndiaye will be buzzing for the clash with City tomorrow. If he can perform to his best, then United might, just maybe, sneak something for the fans to celebrate.