Noel Whelan insists that the Leeds United defence needs to “protect” goalkeeper Illan Meslier on his home debut against Huddersfield.
The former Leeds striker and lifelong fan at Elland Road, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, believes the Terriers will pose a different sort of challenge to the 20-year-old shot-stopper.
Meslier made his Championship debut last weekend against Hull City, keeping a clean sheet in the 4-0 win, and is set to make his first appearance at Elland Road on Saturday.
With just two appearances under his belt for the Whites so far, Whelan insists the young goalkeeper needs protection from the likes of Liam Cooper and Ben White this weekend.
“The good thing is that he was very well protected (v Hull), very much like Casilla was for the last three games,” Whelan told Football Insider.
“It’s one of those where he’s going to need that protection again. It’s going to be a different kettle of fish, you’ve got Huddersfield who are on a decent run, it’s a Yorkshire derby which adds a little bit more spice, more pressure to it.
“He didn’t really have a great deal to do, what he did do was a couple of balls in the air, he had to climb over a couple of bodies which he was confident enough to do. It shows he’s got confidence, believes his ability.
“His ball distribution was a little bit shaky at first, probably just a few nerves.”
Meslier’s only other Leeds appearance to date came against Arsenal in the FA Cup, the Whites slipping to a 1-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium.
Leeds have gone four Championship games without conceding a goal and have the best defensive record in the division.
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