Marsch admits it’s hard to make ‘big statements’, but defends latest claim over Leeds star

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Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch has reiterated his belief that Whites stopper Illan Meslier is the best young goalkeeper he has worked with.

The Frenchman moved to Elland Road in the summer of 2019 on an initial loan deal from Lorient. He had to battle with Kiko Casilla for game time at first but soon got into the team.

And he impressed at the end of the 2019/20 season, helping Leeds with their final push to promotion.

Meslier subsequently earned a long-term contract and has missed only three Premier League matches since the start of last season. What’s more, all of those came last term, with the 22-year-old an ever-present this campaign.

Leeds have struggled with injuries this season to big players such as Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford. That has affected their form, the side slipping from a ninth-placed finish to a relegation battle.

Nevertheless, Marsch has no issues with Meslier, who he has lauded as one of the most promising Premier League talents.

“I said this weeks ago, for me he’s the best young goalkeeper that I’ve worked with,” the manager told a press conference.

“It’s always hard to make big statements like that, but you know when you look at the fact he plays for France Under-21’s and he’s in the mix for the national team moving forward, how good France is on the international stage, you can say that his talent is big.

“I’m just trying to encourage him to be strong, confident and a good decision maker.”

Marsch has had a solid impact since his arrival at Leeds. And while he is not a goalkeeping coach, he knows a good goalkeeper when he sees one.

“I’ve said before I know things about goalkeepers, the technique and tactical position for every moment isn’t my strength,” Marsch said.

“But I do know when a keeper has a presence in the game and makes the right kind of decisions, dictates the way the game is played and for the most part I think he did that tonight. He’s done well.”

Meslier stands out at Leeds

Illan Meslier, Liam Cooper and Pascal Struijk, Leeds United

Marsch was speaking after Leeds drew 0-0 away at Crystal Palace to earn another point in their quest for survival.

Meslier kept his fifth clean sheet of the campaign. That is albeit the joint-16th best record in the Premier League this season.

However, the Frenchman tops the rankings when it comes to saves made.

Meslier has saved 125 efforts on the Leeds goal, nine more than Manchester United’s David de Gea in second.

While it is not a statistic that particularly shows the solidity of Leeds’ defence, Meslier must nevertheless take credit for his performances.

 

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