IT is safe to say Sunderland new boy Alfred N’Diaye has made a big impression on Wearside.
Even before the France Under-21 international kicked a ball in red and white the Stadium of Light crowd had already conjured up his own song.
“He came from Bursaspor, to hear the Roker Roar,”
echoed around the stadium while N’Diaye warmed up during the Black Cats’ 3-0 win over West Ham United, and the 22-year-old admits their welcome has helped him settle into life in the North-East.
“I’m very happy I’ve played my first game,” N’Diaye said.
“I think the fans helped me because they sang for me. It’s nice. I like that.
“The fans are very good.
After the game I told my brother they sang for me. It was great. I couldn’t believe it.
“I didn’t have any songs before I came here, but I listened and it’s very nice. My friend and my brother came to the West Ham game and they couldn’t believe the fans were singing my name. I don’t understand all the words of the song, but my brother has told me.
“I came the day before the West Ham game so for them to already have a song about me is nice.”
N’Diaye almost scored with his first touch, but it was his full debut in last weekend’s 3- 2 win over Wigan Athletic that really caught the eye.
He was Martin O’Neill’s first signing this month, swiftly followed by Senegal defender Kader Mangane, who joined on loan until the end of the season.
The pair know each other from their days in France and N’Diaye reveals having the 29- year-old around has helped him adjust to his new surroundings.
He said: “I’m happy playing for Sunderland and happy to live here. It’s near to friends, which is better for me and the city is nice. I haven’t seen too much of Sunderland, but I’ve seen Newcastle. It’s nice and it’s a good place.
“Two weeks ago I found a house and next week I will move in. I am adjusting to life here well. My brother is helping me. He has lived in London for five years and now he’s helping me with everything up here.
“I have watched Premier League games on television so I know some of the players, but I knew Kader before I came.
“I played against him when we were both in France and I spoke to him before I came.
He’s like my big brother, he’s a good man. He will help me settle in and I will do the same for him.”
N’Diaye admits signing for Sunderland is a dream come true, but the 22-year-old revealed that Bursaspor had blocked a move to Wearside last summer.
“Sunderland were interested in me in August, but Bursaspor had a Europa League game against FC Twente so they didn’t want to sell me. It wasn’t possible at that time,”
“After that Sunderland watched me for another four or five months playing in Turkey and they came back in for me in January. Bursaspor still didn’t want to sell me, but I was determined to go this time. To play in England was my dream.
“When Bursaspor said I couldn’t go (in August) I wasn’t happy. But I decided I’d try to play really well for six months and not think about it.”
N’Diaye is clearly enjoying life at Sunderland and he admits there is one game he can’t wait to be part of.
He said: “Turkish fans love football, but I think it’s the same here.
“The atmosphere is crazy and when I go in the city everybody talks about Newcastle or Sunderland. Everybody likes football here, which is great.
“I can’t wait for Sunderland to play Newcastle, because I’ve been told it’s one of the best atmospheres of any match in England.”
Meanwhile, O’Neill has revealed three first-team players are close to returning from injury.
Danny Rose, Carlos Cuellar and Lee Cattermole have all been sidelined, but they could be ready to return when Swansea visit the Stadium of Light on Tuesday.