By MOT Leeds News speaking to Paul Robinson

24th Jan, 2022 | 9:10pm

Pundit sticks up for Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier after howler v Newcastle

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...

Paul Robinson has defended Illan Meslier after the Leeds United goalkeeper’s error saw his side lost 1-0 to Newcastle United on Saturday.

Jonjo Shelvey’s second-half free-kick at Elland Road didn’t look as though it was going to cause any issues for Meslier.

However, the French goalkeeper, 21, managed to make a complete mess of saving Shelvey’s shot as it went through his hands and into the back of the net.

After seeing the goal, Sky Sports News host Jeff Stelling dubbed it an “awful” mistake by Meslier on Gilette Soccer Saturday [22 January, 04:46pm].

However, ex-Leeds goalkeeper Robinson understands why Meslier was caught out by the free-kick.

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Speaking to MOT Leeds News, he said: “I think it’s harsh to give him the amount of criticism he’s had, in all honesty.

From that point of view, it’s a ball he should’ve dealt with but you can’t react until it’s passed the last player’s foot.

It’s like one of those free-kicks that drift into the far post because he cannot physically react until it misses all the players in the middle. It was Chris Wood or one of the central defenders who were six or seven yards from goal who could’ve potentially had the last touch on that.

Yes, he’s read the ball, dived and should’ve done better with the end result. But it’s not as clear cut as everyone thinks it is.

He should’ve done better than he did but from a goalkeeping view, it’s a very difficult one for him.”

Meslier has been an ever-present for Leeds United this season, playing every minute of every game across all competitions.

Experienced shot-stopper Kiko Casilla was loaned out by the Whites to Elche in the summer and Norwegian youngster Kristoffer Klaesson was brought in to serve as Marcelo Bielsa’s new second-choice goalkeeper.

In other Leeds United news, this international player has caught a flight amid bids from the Whites to sign him.