'Great move' – Exclusive: Paul Robinson thrilled by early Leeds team news v Arsenal

We’re delighted to welcome former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Leeds United…

Paul Robinson is thrilled with the early team news from the Leeds camp, with two youngsters, Illan Meslier and Robbie Gotts, set to make their debuts in the FA Cup clash with Arsenal. 

The game at the Emirates tonight gives Marcelo Bielsa the chance to pit his side against Premier League opposition, with the bonus that his team is under no pressure to get a result.

Robinson thinks Bielsa has made a “great move” playing Meslier and went on to say that Gotts could turn into a “key” player for Leeds in the second half of the season.

Talking exclusively to MOT Leeds News, Robinson said, “It’s a great move by Bielsa to start Meslier.

“He needs to take a look at him in a high-profile game before deciding what he does in January, whether he has to sign a keeper or not.

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“If it’s a substantial ban, they’ll look in the transfer market, so it’s like a trial for him tonight, really.”

Asked whether putting Meslier in such a high-profile televised game could be a gamble that backfires for player and club, Robinson said, “But it could also go very well! You know that’s to be seen, and he’ll be looking forward to the game and he is certainly going to be busy.”

Robbie Gotts is the other youngster set for his debut after appearing on the bench 30 times for Leeds without making it onto the pitch.

“Gotts could become key, should he be needed in the second half of the season,” Robinson said.

“The fact he is going to make his debut shows how highly the manager thinks of him.

“I think like Meslier, it’s great to see him in a high-profile fixture and for him to be put under pressure – the rest of the Leeds games this season are going to be high pressure and they’re all huge matches from now on in.”

Marcelo Bielsa has talked highly of Gotts and admitted he felt guilty about not giving the player his debut before.

Meslier could be set for an extended run in the first team if Kiko Casilla is found guilty of racism, following an incident in Leeds’ Championship game against Charlton earlier this season.

The FA Cup game against Arsenal kicks off at 7.56pm tonight and is live on BBC1.

In other Leeds news, ‘No-brainer signing’ – Exclusive: Paul Robinson urges Leeds to sign £40k/wk ace after Sat news