'He's an amazing kid' - Illan Meslier has made a fan of his Leeds United predecessor
Leeds United youngster Illan Meslier has made a fan of one of his Elland Road predecessors.
Former Whites and England stopper Rob Green thinks the 21-year-old is an ‘amazing kid’ who has coped admirably with the difficult task of keeping goal for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
Green concurs with Leeds right-back Luke Ayling’s assessment that Meslier deserves more praise than he’s had after a season that contained 11 clean sheets, 140 saves and a ninth-place Premier League finish.
“As Luke Ayling said to me: ‘If he was English, everyone would be raving about him’,” said Green.
“He is an amazing kid and only 21.”
Meslier made his France Under-21 debut in this week’s European Championships quarter-final defeat to the Netherlands.
The Leeds man was blameless for both goals, however, and still managed to catch the eye with a razor-sharp turn that relieved pressure from Myron Boadu and left the Dutchman for dead.
It was the kind of confidence on the ball that has helped Meslier to play a huge part in Leeds’ possession game. His passing has often enabled Leeds to play out, over or through the opposition press, diagonal balls to his full-backs in particular becoming an aesthetically pleasing feature of the goalkeeper’s game.
Given the way in which Marcelo Bielsa’s side plays, mistakes are to be expected, although Meslier made few. Difficult afternoons at Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur aside, his contribution was overwhelmingly positive.
Green says the next litmus test for Meslier will be the full reintroduction of supporters next season but backs the former FC Lorient man’s ability to deal with pressure.
“He has been brilliant; fantastic,” he said.
“It will be interesting to see how he does when crowds come back.
“But again playing in goal and in such a way where you are at the extreme all the time, you are prone to playing errors.
“Being on the edge at playing out from the back like they do under pressure, it is going to go wrong at times. He has coped with that admirably and he has the technique to do it.”
Former England international Green and striker Dean Windass are helping football fans around Great Britain take control of their energy spending while also encouraging everyone to do their bit to help upgrade our outdated energy system by getting a smart meter – paving the way for smarter homes and more integration of renewables like wind and solar.