By MOT Leeds News speaking to Paul Robinson

14th Sep, 2023 | 2:12pm

Illan Meslier senior France call-up 'on the horizon', staying at Leeds United 'not a bad thing' for career and confidence - Sky Sports pundit

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

Illan Meslier is better off remaining at Leeds United rather than moving back to the Premier League to keep his confidence high, according to Paul Robinson.

Many expected the highly-rated Frenchman to move away from Elland Road this summer, with LeedsLive suggesting (4 June) that a “big summer transfer” to Tottenham was on the cards. But the 23-year-old remains Leeds’ number one having started all of the Whites’ league games despite the addition of Karl Darlow.

His Premier League season did not end well and was dropped by Sam Allardyce in the closing stretch of the season for Joel Robles after conceding 18 goals in his final five games. However, he has looked much improved and much more confident in the second division.

Robinson claims that Meslier remaining as Leeds’ top-choice goalkeeper “certainly won’t harm his future career prospects” and will boost his confidence to recapture his past excellence, with a senior France call-up “on the horizon”.

Speaking exclusively to MOT Leeds News, Robinson said: “I’m not privy to his thoughts and how he feels and how he thinks, but from my point of view I can understand why you would want to move.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“I think he’s good enough to play at the top level and he’s good enough to play in the Premier League and he’ll eventually be good enough to go on and play in the Champions League and represent his country.

“I’m surprised that when he was at his very best for Leeds, probably about 18 months ago, he didn’t get a call into that France squad, but that’s on the horizon.

“Staying at Leeds is not a bad thing. We all forget how young he is. He got given an opportunity at such a young age and he did extremely well in his first season but was unable to finish the second season due to his form, but it doesn’t make him a bad goalkeeper and he’s started this season really well.

“He’s got an abundance of talent and he’s going to play every week in the Championship.

“Is that a bad thing for me? I don’t actually think it is. Leeds probably thought they were going to lose him, hence the reason Karl Darlow came in – a good, experienced Championship goalkeeper.

“But the fact that Meslier stayed is fantastic news for Leeds. The opportunity may come if they get promoted again, there’s an opportunity to potentially keep him in offering Premier League football again next year.

“He lost his way towards the end of last year, his confidence looked shot and he needed to be taken out the firing line. The managers did that at the end of last season and I think he’s rebuilt his confidence.

“He started again this season and he looks like the fantastic young goalkeeper that he is. Another season with Leeds United in the Championship certainly won’t harm his future career prospects.

“If he went to a bigger club or a bottom-half Premier League club and he was conceding goals, it might be more difficult to rebuild his confidence because he wasn’t in a good place at the end of last year.”

In other Leeds United news, a super computer has revealed if the Whites will get to the playoffs.