Whelan Exclusive: I was wrong about 'Brave' Leeds youngster with amazing stats
Noel Whelan has admitted he got it wrong about Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier after his “fantastic” display against Everton.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former Leeds striker and boyhood Whites fan heaped praise after he kept consecutive Premier League clean sheets for the first time this season.
Whelan had previously told this site he wanted Leeds to sign the experienced Southampton understudy Fraser Forster to replace the 20-year-old after his horror show against Crystal Palace.
Meslier conceded four goals against the Eagles a week after conceding four against Leicester City at Elland Road.
However, he has now kept clean sheets against Everton and Arsenal taking his tally to four for this season, one behind league leader Édouard Mendy of Chelsea.
He also has amazing distribution statistics in a sign of his excellence. The completed all 18 of his short passes against Everton, as well as three of his four long passes, as per Wyscout.
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“He answered the questions against Everton,” Whelan told Football Insider.
“It was a real end-to-end kind of game but when I look at the chances they did have, he was brave, came out and smothered the ball.
“There was some good shot-stopping and some great distribution as well.
“I think the double save where he went to Richarlison’s feet and got back up again showed that agility that you want from a goalkeeper because that’s not an easy technique to do, to get down and then back up with your body behind it.
“He was excellent again.
“He answered people’s questions and I was one, I was a doubter. I didn’t know if he could be that number one in the Premier League.
“He answered the critics superbly with a fantastic performance.”
According to WhoScored, Meslier made eight saves against Everton at the weekend as the Yorkshire giants won 1-0.
He was awarded an 8.41 rating and given the man-of-the-match award by the site.
In other Leeds United news, Kevin Phillips has tipped the club to sign a Liverpool star and a deal could happen in January.