By Max Parsons

4th Nov, 2021 | 9:10pm

Illan Meslier expected to miss out on call up to senior France squad

Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier is expected to miss out on a maiden call-up to Didier Deschamps’ senior France side in Mike Maignan’s absence, according to L’Equipe.

The AC Milan shot-stopper is injured, although his spot in the France squad is not expected to be filled by Meslier, who will instead likely continue to feature for the U21s, and will more realistically be occupied by West Ham’s Alphonse Areola.

L’Equipe report in their print issue (November 4, page 17) that the Leeds man is “appreciated” in the France senior set-up, but is “highly valuable” to the U21 squad.

Not devastating news

Of course, a call-up to the reigning World Cup and Nations League champions would be a tremendous moment for both player and club, but to miss out is not devastating news.

Meslier is still just 21 years of age. The Frenchman has been seen as a valuable asset to the French national teams right through his development into a first-choice Premier League goalkeeper, and that won’t change.

While he still can, the Leeds man should continue to feature for youth sides in order to maintain regular game time for his country. Stepping up to the senior side at this point would inevitably leave him out of favour behind the likes of Hugo Lloris and Mike Maignan (when back fit) – he shouldn’t be rushed.

Long touted as the long-term successor to Lloris for his scarily similar style – that is to say, staggering agility, cat-like reflexes and sharp acceleration – it’s important for Meslier to maintain regular game time for his nation and avoid getting stuck in a rut.

Meslier is the youngest goalkeeper worthy of being called up to that esteemed group of players, and while he may not get the call just yet, his time will undoubtedly come sooner rather than later.

In other Leeds United news, Luke Ayling could return for the Whites clash with Leicester on Sunday.