Leeds United boss Neil Warnock says that new signing El Hadji Diouf is not a bad egg after signing the controversial striker.
Diouf signed for Leeds on Saturday on a non-contract basis and he made his debut as a substitute in the 4-0 win over Shrewsbury Town.
The former African footballer of the year has had a chequered past with a number of misdemeanours both on and off the pitch tarnishing his name.
Warnock and Diouf have history. The pair fell out in 2011 when Warnock was furious with Diouf following an incident involving Jamie Mackie during his time at QPR.
Mackie had suffered a broken leg in a challenge in a FA Cup clash at Ewood Park, with Diouf taunting Mackie whilst he lay prone on the pitch. Warnock launched a scathing attack on Diouf in his after match interview when he said, “For many years I`ve thought he is a gutter-type of boy and I was going to call him a sewer rat but that might be insulting the sewer rats. I think he`s the lowest of the low.
‘I can’t see him being at Blackburn much longer because I can’t see Steve Kean putting up with someone like that in the dressing room when he is trying to form a new image for Blackburn.
‘I think he will be the first to go and good riddance – I hope he goes abroad because I won’t miss watching him.’
Diouf hit back at Warnock when he said, “This guy Warnock talks a lot of s*** and everyone knows he talks a lot of s***.
“He wants to put himself on the front page of the paper all the time but no one is interested in him. Every time we see him on TV he talks s***.
“You see managers talking, like Ferguson, Wenger, Allardyce, Villas-Boas, and you listen.
“But this guy? What has he done in his life? Nobody knows him.
“Watch him with his best player, Adel Taarabt. If it wasn`t for Taarabt last year he`d never have been in the Premier League this season.
“But how has he treated him? He has taken the captain`s armband off him and treated him like s***. But HE`S the big s***.
“One day I will catch up with him and we`re going to talk.
“If I see him face-to-face, he`s going to know what I think about him.”
It seems the pair have now managed to put their differences behind them after Diouf arrived at Leeds on trial towards the end of last week and Warnock puts it down to a chance meeting.
Warnock says the pair met by chance around six weeks ago and had a long chat about what happened in the past. Speaking on Yorkshire Radio Warnock said, “I met Dioufy about six weeks ago. It was not planned it was an accidental meeting. We ended up talking for about an hour.
“We talked about our past history. We had a chat, I told him what I didn`t like about him, and I told him what I liked about him.
“He is good in the dressing room; he is not a bad egg. He is a good lad. We only signed him on a non-contract basis to have a look at him this week.”
The 31 year old was first linked with a move to Elland Road in April. Diouf speaking at the time said he had no problems with Warnock when he gave an interview to Sky Sports News. ‘I know people have talked about the incident between me and Neil Warnock but it is in the past and is not an issue.
‘I have the utmost respect for Neil Warnock and I’d be delighted to help Leeds gain promotion to the Premier League.’
The signing of Diouf also seems to have split the fans with him receiving a mixed reception on his debut on Saturday. The majority of fans applauded Diouf when he came on the pitch to replace Ross McCormack with fourteen minutes remaining but there was clearly some boo`s from the Elland Road crowd.
The Elland Road crowd only taunted Diouf less than six months ago when he visited with Doncaster Rovers in Neil Warnock`s first game at the club.
Diouf and a number of Leeds players were involved in pushing and shoving on the pitch during a long break in play whilst Leeds midfielder Robbie Rogers and Doncaster defender Tommy Spurr received treatment for a clash of heads, which resulted in both players being stretchered from the pitch in the final minute of the game.
The delay led to seven minutes of injury time being played with Luciano Becchio scoring a winner for Leeds in the final seconds of injury time.
Tempers boiled over at the final whistle with unnamed players from both sides involved in an incident in the Leeds tunnel that led to both clubs being investigated by West Yorkshire Police. Both clubs were later cleared without charge.
It will be a very interesting time at Elland Road whilst Diouf is here that I am sure.
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