21-year-old goalkeeper Illan Meslier has impressed at Leeds United since the club earned promotion back to the Premier League.
Prior to Leeds’ clash Saturday lunchtime clash with Chelsea, the Frenchman ranked second in the division for total saves with 102 – 10 behind West Brom’s Sam Johnstone (via Kickest).
Drilling a little deeper into the stats, Meslier ranks in the top half of ‘keepers for save percentage (eighth) and has also prevented a net 1.3 goals up to this point, a better record than the likes of David de Gea and Eduoard Mendy (via fbref).
There are lapses to iron out of his game as well, though. And that’s no surprise given his inexperience.
He is joint-second in the less desirable table of errors leading to an opposition goal, for example (via Kickest).
But he looks poised to hold down the number spot at Elland Road for the foreseeable future as Leeds re-establish themselves in the top-flight.
Meslier was singled out for glowing praise by Adam Crafton, a journalist from The Athletic.
Crafton hailed Meslier for retaining his bravery amid Leeds’ defensive struggles (only three sides have conceded more goals).
“Every time I watch Leeds, I’m pretty in awe of Meslier,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Overworked, people making mistakes in front of him, made errors himself. But, only 21, he always comes back for more, making great saves, playing out boldly, coming for crosses.”
Marcelo Bielsa will certainly be appreciative of the young goalie’s fearless attitude.
In response, a handful of Leeds fans suggested that the sky is the limit for a player who will surely hope to turn out for his country in major tournaments.
Leeds fans laud Meslier
“He seems to embrace the chaos of it all and take it in his stride. Gets a lot of pressure on him from the opposition too but never flinches. Easy to forget how young he is and how unusual it is for a keeper of his age to be playing so much in the Premier League.”
“He’s great tbh, and he can do it with the fans on his back too. Pretty sure he played at the emirates against Arsenal in the cup and his distribution that night was probably the best I’ve seen from him since he started playing”
“Slight improvement in passing decisions when out under pressure and using his height better on crosses he’d be world class. I have every faith he’ll get there, it’s with Leeds.”
“He’s fantastic. Plays without fear. Has the odd mistake in him but he’s saved us more points than he’s lost us. Think he’s got a big, big future”
“One of the best things (and there are lots of good things) about this season for Leeds – he’s been outstanding.”
“Not enough people have said this”
“With our comical defending and non existent midfield he has done incredibly well.”