Iliman Ndiaye's Senegal call-up completes journey from treading water at Sheffield United to Qatar World Cup but what next for him?

Senegal have named Sheffield United's Iliman Ndiaye in their squad for the Qatar World Cup.

The 22-year-old forward only made his international debut in June, but has been in terrific form since the spring in particular.

At the start of last season, Ndiaye's Blades career looked to be going nowhere but as soon as he signed a new contract in August, then-manager Slavisa Jokanovic put him into the side and he scored twice on his Championship debut at home to Peterborough United.

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He really blossomed when Paul Heckingbottom stepped up from being his under-23 to first-team coach in November 2021. It was Heckingbottom who handed Ndiaye his only Premier League appearance to date, promoting him to the first team for his first game as Blades caretaker manager the previous March.

Initially seen more as someone who operated in the hole, Ndiaye has developed into someone who plays further forward, although he does still playdeeper from time to time.

He formed an outstanding partnership with Morgan Gibbs-White when injuries left the Blades without a recognised out-and-out centre-forward late last season, and has now struck another one with Oli McBurnie.

Ndiaye has nine goals in all competitions this season, and 13 this calendar year.

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With Ndiaye out of contract in 2024, the Blades may regret not acting sooner to tie him down as Heckingbottom requested if he goes on to have a good World Cup.

QATAR-BOUND: Sheffield United's lliman NdiayeQATAR-BOUND: Sheffield United's lliman Ndiaye
QATAR-BOUND: Sheffield United's lliman Ndiaye

"From my point of view I would love for it to have been done, but it's not, so we will just have to wait and see," said Heckingbottom.

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"Either way it's going to be in favour of the club. He's under contract with us. He will either be sold for big money or he signs a new contract. That's it, that's what's going to happen and it's the same with every player."

Senegal are in group A with the Netherlands, Ecaudor and Qatar. Should they reach the quarter-finals Ndiaye would miss the Blades’ Championship game against Huddersfield Town on December 10 but the boost to his confidence is likely to outweigh the negatives.

Back-up Wales goalkeeper Adam Davies will be their other representative at the tournament.