Alfred N’Diaye put a smile on Sunderland faces this week – even before he started to sing! Jack Colback tells Stuart Rayner what to expect
THE giants are coming to Sunderland. In Alfred N’Diaye and more than likely Kader Mangane, they will soon have two imposing specimens adding muscle in the fight against relegation.
While the statistics – the heights, the caps, the goals – can easily be dug out, Sunderland fans will want to learn more about the man some have already dubbed “Big Alfie” when he makes his Premier League debut at the Stadium of Light today.
Jack Colback has already had a sneak preview – of the singer and the footballer – and the good news is that around the physique comes a bit of finesse.
Although he only received international clearance to join yesterday afternoon, N’Diaye has trained alongside his Sunderland team-mates since Wednesday. He has made a good first impression on the man who hopes to be his midfield partner.
“He looked good, he is a big lad,” says Colback. “He is a big physical threat and that’s something that will help us in the games.
“He looks a good player. He is a bit different to what we have got. If you look at most teams in the Premier League, they have that sort of player. He is a big physical threat and a lot of teams do well by using that sort of player.
“I don’t think that’s all he has got. He looked very comfortable on the ball, very good on the ball. That’s a good sign for us.
“The more I train with him, the more I will get to know how he plays and how I can play with him. The most important thing is to concentrate on my own game and take it from there.”
When it comes to settling in, the best Colback can offer is to knock up a nice meal for the new man. But he does not have any fears about N’Diaye integrating, and last night the Frenchman was put through a rigorous initiation.
“He talks a little bit of English, not much really, but at least he has Sess (Stéphane Sessègnon) and Louis (Saha) who can speak French (so too can Mangane) and help him out. I’m sure he will learn it and settle in fine.
“I didn’t take French at school. I took cookery instead! I might have learn how to shout, ‘Pass it!’ When he swears at me, I probably won’t understand it!
“Gards (Craig Gardner) was quick to tell him he would have to do a song on Friday to introduce himself. He said he would do something in French.”