Is the new Neuer French?

The youngest goalkeeper in the five major championships, at only 20 years old, Illan Meslier has all the skills to be Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds goalkeeper. With a bright future ahead of him?

Before the clash between Leeds and Arsenal, Sunday afternoon (5.30 p.m.), as part of the 9th day of the Premier League, Ouest-France paints a beautiful portrait ofIllan Meslier, the guard trained in FC Lorient and now holder of the training of Marcelo Bielsa. After his debut with Les Merlus in 2018-2019, in Ligue 2, the young prodigy became number 2 (behind Paul Nardi) and asked to leave his training club. Among the Peacocks of the “Loco”, he has become the ideal keeper!

“An exceptional left foot”

Slender (1.96 m), he is above all a modern goalkeeper, with an “exceptional left foot and a not bad right foot”, as explained Christophe Lollichon, the famous goalkeeping coach of Chelsea. Stéphane Le Garrec, his first trainer at FCL, even ignites: “He has a very, very good foot game, the level of Ter Stegen, Neuer and Ederson”. Leeds de Bielsa struggling to start from behind, even if it means multiplying short passes between defensive players before launching an attack, Meslier is therefore very useful. He’s able to find one of the lane players with a mid-pass.

But other qualities allowed him to earn his place last season, after the heavy suspension of the number 1 goalkeeper, Spaniard Kiko Casilla. The Habs thus have a “reaction speed” and a “very sharp reading of the game”, according to Lollichon, which allow him to evolve far from his goal when the rest of his team tries to make the difference in the opposing camp, this which can thus lead Meslier to play the libero like a Manuer Neuer. Especially since the Morbihannais is “a quiet force” and “gives off a lot of serenity”, for Le Garrec.

The beautiful 2000 generation

What make him one of the future goalkeepers of the France team? After U18, U19 and U20, Illan Meslier is now with the Espoirs, alongside an Alban Lafont older than a year. He is part of the 2000 generation with his friends Melvin Bard, Maxence Caqueret, Aurélien Tchouaméni, Yacine Adli or Amine Gouiri. If there is no bug, some of its very promising players should reach the top level in a few years. At least Illan Meslier is already playing at a very high level.

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