Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom has said youngster Iliman Ndiaye will be given a chance to stake his claim for a starting spot if Morgan Gibbs-White ends up returning to Wolves.
Sheffield United swooped in to secure a loan deal for Morgan Gibbs-White in the summer, giving him a shot at regular first-team football away from parent club Wolves.
The midfielder has made good on his chance to impress too. He has netted five goals and laid on four assists in 15 games, leading to speculation that he could be recalled by Wolves in January.
It would come as a hefty blow to the Blades if they were to lose Gibbs-White, but one man who could be an in-house replacement is young star Iliman Ndiaye.
As quoted by Yorkshire Live, Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom has said it will be up to Ndiaye to show he is up to the challenge if Gibbs-White is recalled.
“Definitely,” Heckingbottom said when asked if Ndiaye could be given a chance.
“But the challenge to Iliman is to go and take that place now.
“He knows what we think of him here and everyone now is beginning to see what we know, that he is a player.
“But that step from potential and big young talent to nailing down a first-team spot, playing every week and being reliable, producing every week, is a difficult one but we believe in him and we believe he can do it, without a doubt.
“I am looking forward to working with him again. He has stepped away from me and now I am back with him so that’s a good thing for him in my eyes.
“I don’t think people have seen the best of him yet.”
Ndiaye’s season so far
The French midfielder made a thoroughly impressive first appearance in the Championship. Ndiaye scored twice and laid on one assist in the Blades’ 6-2 win over Peterborough United, but he hasn’t managed a goal contribution since.
Overall, he has played 14 times for Sheffield United across all competitions, mainly operating as an attacking midfielder.
Despite falling out of favour in the event of Heckingbottom’s switch to a three-at-the-back formation, Ndiaye has a big admirer in the form of the Blades boss, so it will be interesting to see if he is given more game time over time.