Forget Pablo: £1.5k-a-week ace has been the unsung hero of Leeds’ promotion hunt – opinion

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With just two games to go in the Championship season, Leeds United need just one point to clinch their return to the Premier League after years of hurt and suffering.

Marcelo Bielsa has been the chief orchestrator behind the Whites’ impressive campaign, and after a hard-fought, grind-it-out victory against Barnsley on Thursday, English football’s top-flight has never looked closer than it has now.

And whilst the plaudits will ring out for the likes of Ben White, Kalvin Phillips and Spanish magician Pablo Hernandez, Leeds fans mustn’t forget the contributions of Illan Meslier.

Can you name every one of the Leeds’ top goalscorers from the past 15 seasons? It’s a tricky one…

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The 6 foot 6 goalkeeper has been an ever-present for Bielsa’s side since Kiko Casilla’s ban, and for a side chasing promotion, losing your number one shot-stopper would surely have left some people fearing the worst.

Instead, Meslier has been nothing short of assured and composed in between the sticks, and it’s a sentiment echoed by both his manager and teammates as well.

Bielsa said earlier this year after a win over Hull: “Calm, confident, he took risks, good in the aerial play, gave us feeling he is confident”.

And Tyler Roberts added:  “He was confident, he tried things and he’s definitely got the ability so it will be good for him to show it in this run of games. He is trying what the manager wants him to try, he’s not backing out of things, he’s being confident and he’s commanding so I think it’s good for the defenders to have him behind them as well.”

Who’s your number one?




Since his introduction into the first-team, Meslier has looked imperious. The man earning a reported £1.5k-a-week hasn’t made a single error leading to a shot or goal, and has a very impressive save percentage of 80%.

And with Bielsa looking to keep things on the deck, and playing out from the back, the Frenchman has looked as comfortable as anyone, averaging a 72% pass accuracy.

So whilst players like Hernandez who have been in and amongst the goals in recent weeks may steal all the headlines, Meslier has been that under-rated performer who Leeds can absolutely rely upon in their promotion hunt.

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