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Leeds star Meslier set for France U-21 start as rival drops out

Leeds United keeper Illan Meslier could be handed a start for France in next week’s U-21 Euros.

L’Equipe report that regular starting keeper Alban Lafont has been dropped from Sylvain Ripoll’s squad as the FC Nantes’ number one will remain with his club side as they prepare for the Ligue 1 relegation play-offs against Toulouse.

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With 211 first-team career appearances, Lafont has been France’s starting U-21 keeper for some time, with the 22-year-old holding the position since his first call-up to the side in 2019.

Meslier is now likely to take the number one spot next week when Les Bleus face off against the Netherlands. The Leeds star has enjoyed a sensational debut year in the Premier League for Marcelo Bielsa’s side, with the youngster keeping 11 clean sheets in 35 appearances.

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Ripoll has also called up Montpellier keeper Dimitry Bertaud and Saint-Etienne youngster Etienne Green to the U21 squad ahead of next week’s clash with Holland, with the duo amassing 17 appearances between them this season in Ligue 1.

TBR View: Meslier can win international recognition with France

Of the many feel-good stories surrounding Leeds this season, the rise of Meslier has certainly been one that had many supporters and neutrals smiling.

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The 21-year-old keeper became the youngest goalkeeper in Premier League history to keep ten clean sheets in the division. Meslier is also the first player in 70 years to keep a clean sheet against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United in their debut season in the English top-flight.

Meslier’s form has been sensational this season, and now the Leeds fan favourite has the chance to win international plaudits with France at the U-21 Euros, a competition that will likely attract plenty of eyeballs given the amount of quality Ripoll’s side have heading into the knockout stage of the tournament.

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