France under-21 coach Sylvain Ripoll has handed Leeds United ‘keeper Illan Meslier some heavy praise after his efforts in training for his country.
Meslier has firmly established himself as part of Ripoll’s second string French side and is currently playing second fiddle to Alban Lafont.
The young ‘keeper arrived at domestic club Leeds United back in 2019 on an initial loan deal from French side Lorient.
Despite having minimal game time through the first three quarters of the 2019/20 season, the young stopper took full advantage when called upon during the back end of the campaign, keeping 7 clean sheets in the 10 Championship games in which he featured.
Featuring regularly for France’s youth sides, Meslier is now impressing current international boss Ripoll, who told L’Equipe, as cited by Yorkshire Evening Post: ““We are delighted to see Illan at this level.
“He finished last season well and has started the new one very well. For this position as for the others, there is competition.
“We will see how things evolve. I can only be delighted to have number one goalkeepers, which has not always been the case for the Under-21s.”
Meslier’s form continues to keep Casilla out
Featuring in the opening four Premier League games for the Yorkshire club this term, Meslier has kept one clean sheet, whilst impressing against Manchester City, conceding just one goal against a Pep Guardiola side who have scored 303 times in their last three Premier League campaigns.
Meslier’s impressions have certainly seen him become the Whites’ number one choice ahead of Spaniard Casilla, who was tipped to be leaving Elland Road during the transfer window.
Casilla’s ban last term of eight games did help the young Frenchman gain his place but he has done remarkably well to tempt Bielsa into keeping him in the starting eleven.
Future France number one?
France have a number of good options available between the sticks moving forward, with Lafont being one of the players expected to feature at senior level in the coming years.
Could Meslier get that chance? Why not? If he continues to be played week in and week out for Leeds, then the future for France’s number one jersey could be very fruitful.
Can you see Meslier being Leeds’ number one for the foreseeable future? Let us know in the comments section below…
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