Tyler Roberts hails immediate impact of Illan Meslier on Leeds United defence

TYLER Roberts hailed the confidence and talent of Illan Meslier after stepping in at the 11th hour to replace Leeds United goalkeeper Kiko Casilla.

By Lee Sobot
Sunday, 1st March 2020, 3:17 pm

Casilla discovered he was facing an immediate eight-game ban on Friday evening after being found guilty by an FA panel of using racist language in the clash at Charlton Athletic at the end of September.

France under-20s shotstopper Meslier was subsequently left with very short notice approaching what was a Whites league debut in Saturday’s Championship clash at Hull City.

Meslier’s only previous appearance for Leeds had come in the third round FA Cup clash at Arsenal in January in which the teen produced a strong display in a 1-0 defeat.

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ICE COOL: French goalkeeper Illan Meslier was unruffled during his Leeds United league debut in Saturday's Championship clash at Hull City. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Roberts, though, said United’s squad always knew the calibre of player Leeds had signed with Roberts left hailing the Frenchman’s cool display in the 4-0 romp at Hull and continued confidence instilled in the Whites defence.

Meslier - signed on a season-loan from Ligue 1 side Lorient in the summer - will also celebrate his 20th birthday on Monday.

Reflecting on the timing of Casilla’s ban, Roberts reasoned: “Obviously it’s come out late on Friday night so it’s a quick turnaround for the likes of Illan Meslier.

“But this is a big moment for him and it was good for him to get the clean sheet as well.

“He was confident, he tried things and he’s definitely got the ability so it will be good for him to show it in this run of games.

“We all knew as soon as he came in that he was a great keeper and he showed that at Arsenal.

“The confidence that he had on that pitch and that kind of stage for his age as well was amazing.

“He is trying what the manager wants him to try, he’s not backing out of things, he’s being confident and he’s commanding so I think it’s good for the defenders to have him behind them as well.”