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Illan Meslier: Leeds only just getting started under Jesse Marsch

Joe Prince-Wright sits down with Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier to talk about his club's up-and-down campaign thus far, 2023 goals and his relationship with Americans Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson.

Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier believes that the Yorkshire club are only just getting started under American coach Jesse Marsch.

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Meslier, 22, has just racked up his 100th appearance for Leeds and the young French goalkeeper spoke to ProSoccerTalk exclusively ahead of Leeds’ home game against Brentford this Sunday (watch live, 9am ET on Peacock Premium) and revealed his big target for 2023.

“I hope I can go with the French national team. That would be perfect but I know it will be from my performances with Leeds United,” Meslier, who is nicknamed ‘The Iceman’ by Leeds fans, said.

One of the top young goalkeepers in the game, Meslier is so calm on the ball and has put in some incredible displays this season to help Leeds to big wins against the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea. But they are just two points above the relegation zone heading into this weekend.

“We try to find a solution to stay all the time up. Sometimes we lose the game just on a few details. We are on the good way to take three points all the time and win the game,” Meslier explained.


Meslier discussed playing for Jesse Marsch, playing with USMNT stars Tyler Adams and Brenden Aaronson and much more in our interview which you can watch in full above.

Below are a few snippets from the chat with Meslier.

On if he feels Leeds have improved over the last 12 months

“Of course last year was different because we were in a difficult situation after we sacked Marcelo [Bielsa]. It was difficult for everyone. Maybe I will look from July, the start of the new season, and of course we start the season well and after a little bit harder but the most important is to stay positive and stay together. To follow the rules and the tactics of Jesse [Marsch].”

Leeds United v Manchester United - Premier League

LEEDS, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 20: Illan Meslier of Leeds United celebrates after their side’s first goal, scored by teammate Rodrigo during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Manchester United at Elland Road on February 20, 2022 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Getty Images

On his role models

“Of course I saw Hugo [Lloris] when he was in Nice and Lyon and of course I saw him at Tottenham when I was growing up. He is a French legend and another role model is Manuel Neuer. I like him because he is a very complete, modern ‘keeper. Tried to make an evolution of the position of the ‘keeper after the World Cup of 2014. I would say Manuel Neuer.”

On Jesse Marsch and what he asks him to do

“With Jesse it is important with communication. If you have something you can say it and you say ‘maybe better like this or like this’ and all the time now I play forward and find like a quarterback good passes behind or in the feet, the Redzone. He gives me a lot of responsibility. I have to manage the deep behind my defense. I like it a lot. Jesse is very nice, very nice.”

Leeds United v Chelsea FC - Premier League

LEEDS, ENGLAND - AUGUST 21: Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch celebrates with goalkeeper Illan Meslier after the Premier League match between Leeds United and Chelsea FC at Elland Road on August 21, 2022 in Leeds, United Kingdom. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Visionhaus/Getty Images

On Tyler Adams

“Tyler is a fantastic person. I like him a lot. We are close in age and he is very nice. He is also very important for us on the pitch. A good leader who gives advice to other players. I saw he received the USA player of the year, it is totally deserved and I am very happy for him. It is a pleasure to play with him every day.”

On Brenden Aaronson

“Brenden is a very good lad. Very funny. I like them both, my American guys! Brenden is important and he has just discovered a hard league and he can do fantastic things. He needs time but what he’s done already is crazy. He scores, make assists and a very good player in small spaces and can turn. Honestly, he’s a good player. No doubts.”

Liverpool FC v Leeds United - Premier League

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Marc Roca and Tyler Adams of Leeds United congratulate goalkeeper Illan Meslier on making a save during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leeds United at Anfield on October 29, 2022 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Offside via Getty Images

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