Speaking in an interview with Ouest-France, Championship side Leeds United’s 19-year-old French goalkeeper Illan Meslier discussed his future and his first impressions of Yorkshire and English football.
You are on loan with an option to buy. Can you see your future being in England?
I would like to, but it depends on the season. If I play in the Championship, and the club activates the option to buy, I would stay without a problem. If I play less, we will think about it. But the best thing would be to continue at Leeds.
Have you definitively turned the page on FC Lorient?
Officially, I belong to Lorient, so you never know what could happen, things can occur very quickly. But if I am to go back to Lorient, it will be to be their #1. I have done the time that I was supposed to do over there, now I am concentrating on something else. I am 100% focused on Leeds.
You prefer being the #2 at Leeds than at Lorient?
Yes. I knew that Kiko (Casilla) was a great goalkeeper, he was at Real Madrid. So if you are going to have to be behind a goalkeeper in the pecking order, better that they are fantastically good. It was not possible to remain at Lorient… Kiko is a great goalkeeper and I am coming to learn by his side. Aside from that, if he does not play, I will be there to give my best.
On Marcelo Bielsa:
He is someone who is very respected, very listened to. He is very professional with the players. The training sessions are hard physically for the players, but we work very well. Aside from that, nobody talks with him. He, he speaks to you, but I do not think that it is possible to go and speak to him just like that. Aside from that, so long as we are performing, everything goes well…
On his 1st impressions of Leeds:
I am joining a legendary club and moving to England, which is always an enticing proposition. In terms of the fans, it is different to what we have in France. It is a religion over here. There are 35,000 fans per match. English football is very box-to-box, but it is very good football. I wanted to play here one day and I found this project more interesting compared to what was at Lorient. So I moved. And things are going very well, the players are welcoming and are trying to integrate me as much as possible. For the moment, I have played two matches, with the U23s, against Millwall and Bristol.