Sheff Utd ace who ‘can do anything’ compared to Liverpool icon by team-mate Chris Basham

Iliman Ndiaye and Oli Norwood

Sheffield United defender Chris Basham has been effusive in his praise of team-mate Iliman Ndiaye and made a comparison with Liverpool hero Sadio Mane.

Ndiaye has enjoyed a brilliant start to the season at Sheffield United, registering five goals and one assist in 10 Championship matches. He opened the scoring for the Blades against Preston North End on Saturday as Paul Heckingbottom’s side ran out 2-0 winners.

Sheffield United didn’t have to pay any money when signing Ndiaye from Boreham Wood in summer 2019. It’s now looking like an exceptional piece of transfer business.

Ndiaye, who usually operates in an advanced midfield role, is showing off his terrific strength, dribbling and shooting skills this campaign.

United supporters were wondering where most of their creativity would come from once loanee Morgan Gibbs-White returned to Wolves in the summer. But Ndiaye, along with Sander Berge, is proving that the Blades no longer need Gibbs-White.

The 22-year-old has arguably been one of the best players in the second tier this term. And he is now part of the Senegal national team too, having won his first cap for them in June.

Ndiaye has also been called up to the Senegal squad for their matches against Bolivia and Iran this month. He will be hoping to impress manager Aliou Cisse so he can make the squad for the Qatar World Cup.

Amid Ndiaye taking part in international duty, Basham has sung the praises of his attacking team-mate. During an interview with Sheffield-based journalist Alan Biggs, Basham drew comparisons between Ndiaye and Mane, who scored 120 goals during a six-year spell at Liverpool.

Basham lauds ‘elite’ Iliman Ndiaye

Basham said: “Every day in training he’s hard to play against. He uses his body so well, his feet are so fast and powerful.

“He’s going to be elite. He’s learning very well, his finishing is good. It can be better at times, but he’s [young].

“He’s scoring some outrageous goals in training – the boys just buzz off how good he is. It’s great and a privilege to have him in our side.

“I said in the Premier League, the hardest person I ever had to play against was Mane. He [Ndiaye] will be up there for sure, from the same country as well. He produces the same type of quality.”

This will be fantastic for Ndiaye to hear. It will be a huge boost for him to be compared to one of his country’s greatest every players in Mane. And it is coming from a United legend in Basham, too.

Ndiaye has made huge strides in the last 18 months or so. He has gone from being a peripheral figure in the squad to one of the first names on the team sheet under Heckingbottom.

While this is brilliant for everyone involved with the Blades, they do need to sort out a new contract for him.

Ndiaye’s current deal expires in June 2024. It won’t be worth too much money either, so United need to begin talks over an extension, which should include a pay rise.

This will help to ward any interested clubs off the attacker’s trail. According to a recent tweet from Fabrizio Romano, Premier League sides have looked into signing him in the past.

Meanwhile, Ndiaye’s team-mate Berge admits it is ‘nice’ to have been wanted by Liverpool and Chelsea in the summer transfer window.