'High flying' Leeds United man joins illustrious company with Benzema, Griezmann and Camavinga

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Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier has joined illustrious company such as Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann in a major French publication’s team of the weekend.

The stopper stood out for the Whites in a 0-0 draw with Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Saturday. His trademark shot-stopping ability was on display and necessarily so due to the pressure and chances created by Eddie Howe’s men. A second half that was largely one-way traffic asked a lot of Meslier, particularly from set-pieces as Newcastle bombarded the Frenchman’s area with free-kicks and corners, but he was more than up to the challenge and responded with an assured performance.

Boss Jessie Marsch lauded the 22-year-old’s contribution, describing it as the best Meslier has produced in his managerial tenure with the Whites. "I'm always challenging him to mature with his presence in the goal, with his belief in himself, with his shrewdness in decision making and with saves and with crosses,” said Marsch.

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"And for me, this was by being the last defender at the right time, the choices he made with the ball, the same as he made the crosses that he caught, is probably his best performance since I've been here, even with Liverpool. So I think we're seeing a goalkeeper that's growing right before our eyes and that's going to be really important for us.”

And Meslier’s outing at St James’ Park has not gone unnoticed in the goalkeeper’s homeland.

French news and sport giants L’Equipe made Meslier their number one in a team of the weekend that included Real Madrid superstar Benzema and his team-mate Eduardo Camavinga, Atletico Madrid’s Griezmann and Manchester United defender Raphaël Varane.

According to L’Equipe journalist Luc Sares, Meslier’s display against Newcastle was simply a continuation of the form in evidence last time out against Manchester City. He said: “In the cages of Leeds Illan Meslier released a new high-flying performance after his very good match against Manchester City where he avoided the sinking of his team. Vigilant throughout the game, he fended off shots from Newcastle United players to keep his clean sheet all game long. In particular, he made three high-class saves that allowed his team to hold off the team third in the Premier League.”