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Slavisa Jokanovic has explained the reason behind Iliman Ndiaye’s absence from the United first XI squad.

The youngster did not travel with the senior players for their match at Reading yesterday and instead featured for the under-23s in their development league cup clash against Peterborough earlier in the afternoon.

And the 21-year-old also got on the scoresheet as the youngsters secured a 3-3 draw.

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Rhys Norrington-Davies also featured and provided the cross for the French-born forward to slot home and give United a two-goal lead.

Ndiaye’s appearance on the teamsheet came as a surprise to fans, who were baffled as to why he was not part of the Sheffield United party making their way to the Select Car Leasing Stadium.

Since being handed his league debut in the 6-2 dismantling of Peterborough, he has been one of the bright lights of an otherwise disappointing season.

But having only featured for 45 minutes against Coventry off the back of a two-week international break and not being part of the team at Reading, Jokanovic says the idea behind the decision was to get him some game time.

“He has not had enough minutes in the last few games.

“We are coming off the back of some international break and my choice for this game at Reading was to think about using a different player.

“There is nothing wrong with Iliman.

“He has been important for us and will be an important part of this squad.

“It’s simple, it’s my decision for this game. I have a lot of midfielders on the bench and I take a decision to try different players.

“I am always talking about 11, 11, 11, 11, 11. I cannot only depend on 11 players. I will need players who are in the stands as well as on the bench.

“For me it’s normal for a young player. Last two and half months he has had a lot of senior football but if he is playing in the under-23s this is only to support him and put him at the highest level.

“There does not exist any different reason.”

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