There are late bloomers in football, and then there’s Cheikh Ndoye.
Currently without a club, the former Angers player only discovered the top flight at the age of 29 with the Ligue 1 side and spent two seasons there before running down his contract and moving on a free to Birmingham City.
Plucked by Harry Redknapp and brought to the Championship, Ndoye ended up living a very mixed season at St Andrew’s, which he talked about on Le Vestiaire on RMC Sport.
First, he explained it ‘wasn’t his choice’ to originally go to Birmingham, and he only went there because Angers didn’t give him a new contract.
He said: “I stayed one season in the Championship, but even in December, Angers wanted to bring me back. The problem is, in England, when it goes bad, things go quickly. Redknapp made me come, and after seven games he was gone.
“Steve Cotterill took over, and at the beginning he made me play. I played, despite the losses, but then he puts me on the bench for no reason. I ask him, and he says it’s because my English isn’t good, I’m struggling to talk with teammates. I’m and out, and then he gets sacked.”
The midfielder also revealed that as well as Angers, Cardiff wanted to sign him in December, but Birmingham didn’t allow it.
He explained that while the manager wanted him to leave, the club didn’t, as the manager made him play in the cup against Huddersfield, in which he performed well, which gave them the excuse to keep him around.
Eventually, Cotterill also got sacked to be replaced by Garry Monk, who ended the season as manager, and then allowed Ndoye to leave on loan back to Angers, where he stayed until this summer.
Unfortunately, that season ended with the midfielder rupturing a knee ligament, which led to his contract running down, meaning he is currently without a club.
One thing is certain, however, and that’s if Cotterill gets a job somewhere else, he won’t be picking up the phone to bring Ndoye in as midfield reinforcement.