By Noel Whelan

21st Dec, 2020 | 6:00pm

Whelan Exclusive: My heart bleeds for Leeds player after meltdown

Noel Whelan has admitted he feels sorry for Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former Leeds striker and boyhood Whites fan claimed the 20-year-old made some “fantastic stops” in Leeds’ 6-2 humiliation against Manchester United yesterday.

Meslier made eight saves at Old Trafford but his efforts were not enough to stop Leeds’ suffering their heaviest defeat of Marcelo Bielsa’s reign.

It brings the Frenchman’s total number of saves this season to 56 – the second-highest total in the Premier League this season behind West Brom’s Sam Johnstone.

Leeds and Meslier have now conceded the most goals (30) in the Premier League this season.

Almost half of those goals, 14, have come from set-pieces including penalties.

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Asked by Football Insider whether he feels Meslier deserves better than conceding six in the latest Leeds defensive meltdown, Whelan said: “I do.

“I’m not being funny, he’s made some fantastic saves including two from Martial because really Martial should’ve been burying them. Is it a good save or a bad miss? You can look at it from two points of view – the striker’s point of view and from the goalkeeper’s point of view.

“It could have been a lot worse and we missed a hateful of chances as well. The game could’ve ended up 8-5 it was that much of a ridiculous game.

“Meslier again made some fantastic stops. He’s one of those players who is always there when you need him. That scoreline could’ve been a lot worse if it wasn’t for him.”

Meslier only established himself as Leeds’ number one at the end of last season when Kiko Casilla was handed an eight-match ban for racism.

The young shot-stopper kept seven clean sheets in 10 Championship games last term.

In other news, Football Insider can reveal Barnsley have had a six-figure bid accepted for a 21-year-old Leeds United academy product.