Senegal World Cup star was playing Sunday League in London three years ago

Iliman Ndiaye has gone from Sunday League prospect to World Cup star taking on England thanks to his stunning three-year rise to the top.

The 22-year-old joined Sheffield United back in 2019 having left Boreham Wood and played a game for Rising Ballers against Camden League champions Gower FC.

Born in Rouen, France back in 2000, Ndiaye couldn't speak the language when moving to England at the age of 14 before spending time in his father's birth country of Senegal.

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Having learned his trade with the youth side at Marseille, Ndiaye caught the eye of Sheffield United where he made his Premier League debut before flourishing in the Championship.

The attacking midfielder, who has managed 16 goals since the start of last season, made his Senegal debut back in June before being named in the World Cup squad.

Having sat out for their defeat against the Netherlands, he came on in the win over Qatar before starting in their crucial win over Ecuador to help book a last 16 clash against England.

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Cameron Mawer, who worked with Ndiaye during his non-league stint at Boreham Wood, told The Star: "He had it all, from the moment we first saw him.

"He was frightening. He would sit defenders down – experienced, seasoned reserve players from senior clubs – and you thought: ‘Wow’.

"After about a minute of seeing him, I knew he was proper. I was looking around me, thinking: 'Has anyone seen this kid? Where has he come from?'"

Ndiaye faced rejection from big clubs on his path to World Cup stardom with failed trials at Southampton and Chelsea, speaking about his rise to Sky Sports before he headed to Qatar.

He said: "Giving up is not in my dictionary.

"I've always believed that one day I'm going to be the best player in the world and that's what keeps me going."


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