Illan Meslier has told Goal France that he is improving his game at Leeds United under the tutorship of senior goalkeeper Kiko Casilla, despite the Lorient loanee yet to make a single senior appearance for the Whites.
Meslier, 19, joined Leeds on a season-long loan with an option to make the deal a permanent one at the end of the season. He was one of six signings made by Leeds in the summer, all of which were loan deals.
France youth international Meslier chose to swap Lorient – where he had made 30 senior appearances and conceded just 32 goals, keeping 11 clean sheets – in order to move to Leeds on loan, where he is yet to play a single minute.
However, Meslier believes he is improving even though he is lacking in game time and that is because of the stewardship of Spain international and Champions League winner Casilla, 33, who has conceded just 11 goals in 18, keeping nine clean sheets.
“I’m learning a lot with Kiko,” Meslier said. “He’s an experienced keeper. Mentally, he is above me. He knows what to do on a lot of situations and I really take everything he gives me.
“I am gaining strength in this new club, with a new staff, and I am ready to play at any time if there is a suspension or an injury. It will be up to me to seize the opportunities and afterwards, it is the coach who will decide.”
TBR’s view – Was a move to Leeds the right one for Meslier?
Probably not. Meslier was a regular at Lorient and even though he had a falling out with manager Christophe Pelissier, it is likely that he still would have had more of a chance of game time with second-tier French side.
That being said, Casilla is currently undergoing an FA probe for an alleged incident of racism against Charlton striker Macauley Bonne – and Meslier could come into the side if Casilla is banned.
Casilla is certainly the club’s number one and would return to net, no matter how long he is sidelined for. For Meslier, perhaps his Leeds loan was more of a learning curve rather than a productive one.