Popular football pundit Tony Cascarino has suggested that Illan Meslier has the ability to become the first-choice goalkeeper for the France national team.
The 21-year-old cemented his position in Leeds towards the end of last season when they were in the Championship.
He has faced criticism this season, as Leeds have struggled to protect him with a steady backline with injuries to key players at various points.
Despite this, Meslier has shown great presence, leadership and command in the box. He has kept nine clean sheets in 27 games for the club.
Marcelo Bielsa has defended the youngster whenever he was criticised heavily by the press. After his mistakes against Arsenal, Bielsa protected him by drawing reference to Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker who has made some uncharacteristic errors this term.
Cascarino has labelled his job as “the most demanding in the Premier League” and suggested that he is getting better and assured with “every passing week.”
He wrote for The Times: “Few players in the Premier League have a more demanding job than Illan Meslier.
“Aged just 21, the Leeds United goalkeeper has had to master Marcelo Bielsa’s high-octane style of play which requires him to think quickly with his feet under pressure.
“He has made a fair few mistakes this season, but they do not seem to have knocked his confidence. If anything, the experience has made him a better goalkeeper, and with every passing week he is looking more assured.
“Meslier’s ability to keep cool under pressure comes from his formative years at Lorient in France where he competed in the youth cup aged 15 up against 20-year-old men.
“It is exciting to think how good he could become. Meslier stands at 6ft 6in and still has a wiry frame.
“As he continues to grow and develop his upper body strength, he will become an even more fearsome physical presence in the box. We are looking at the future No 1 for the French national team.”
Meslier gives the impression of a confident keeper.
His experience in the Premier League in his first season will help him grow. Only West Bromwich Albion’s Sam Johnstone (115) has made more saves than him (110) this season.
Bielsa once said that he does not take any credit for the development of Meslier, suggesting that the goalkeeping coaching set-up at the club deserves praise.
In other news, Leeds are looking to recruit cover for Kalvin Phillips.