By Noel Whelan

22nd Feb, 2021 | 5:52pm

Whelan hails 'brilliant' Meslier amid Leeds 'Crumble' fears

Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier answered his critics with his performance in the 1-0 loss at Wolves, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Whites and Coventry forward, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, heaped praise on the “exceptional” 20-year-old who could have “easily crumbled” after his first-half display at Arsenal.

Meslier gave away a penalty and was beaten at his near post twice at the Emirates on 14 February.

However, he was back to his best at Molineux on Friday night – he made five saves to take his total for the season to 97 – only Sam Johnstone, Nick Pope and Karl Darlow have made more in Europe’s top five leagues. (Wyscout)

Permanently signed from FC Lorient in July, Meslier is also the youngest goalkeeper to feature in the English top-flight this season.

When asked for his assessment of the France Under-21 international’s display, Whelan told Football Insider: “I felt for Meslier, football is a cruel game at times.

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“I thought he was brilliant though. It was a continuation of the second-half performance we saw at Arsenal. Of course the first half had too many mistakes and did not go his way.

“A young man could easily crumble after that but he showed his character at Wolves. He was tested many times and he answered his critics.

“He is an exceptional young goalkeeper. Every goalkeeper makes mistakes, that is a given. It can happen to even the most experienced as we have seen recently. On his day, he is more than capable of holding his own between the sticks.”

In other news, Leeds United have set their sights on signing a Lille powerhouse who was the subject of a £35million bid from Newcastle.