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Leeds stopper Kiko Casilla just needed time to hit back at criticism

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This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…

It’s been a long nine months in the life of Kiko Casilla.

The Spanish goalkeeper departed Real Madrid in January for pastures new as he signed for Leeds from the historic La Liga outfit.

However, during that time, it’s been a spell littered with mistakes. Two that spring to mind the most came against Sheffield United when he was sent off and then of course in the playoffs.

Some miscommunication with Liam Cooper saw him race out of his goal and consequently miss his clearance before Jack Marriott scored.

After a performance against Ipswich in May, he was slated and then following his horror show in the playoffs, it perhaps came as no surprise to see fans want him to leave over the summer.

Judging by what he did against Derby and the way he’d acted during other matches after his arrival, it was justifiable.

But after being shown a degree of faith by Marcelo Bielsa when Bailey Peacock-Farrell left instead, he’s shown he just needed one thing to prove doubters wrong.

That factor was time.

Casilla has shown this season that he does have what it takes, making six saves and looking a pillar of solidity in what, according to some supporters, was his best game in a Leeds shirt last Sunday.

It’s been quite the turnaround for the 32-year-old but he’s now finally adapted to the Championship and the surroundings of English football.

Casilla’s numbers from less season are from impressive, running out of his goal 0.77 times per 90 minutes.

He meanwhile only claimed 0.29 high balls every 90 too.

But it was the individual errors that rung true, something demonstrated by his catastrophic lack of judgement against the Rams.

It’s not uncharacteristic for goalkeepers coming from La Liga to falter in English football, however.

David De Gea, who won the Premier League Golden Glove in 2017/18, made two individual errors leading to goals in his first term, seemingly being more intent on saving balls with his feet than with his hands.

He’s now one of the best at what he does, being named in the FIFA FIFPro World XI in 2018.

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Similarly, Claudio Bravo also made one individual error of note in his debut term with Manchester City. Coming from Barcelona, it was a surprise to see him under pressure so often.

But this was something that also had an effect on Casilla. Arriving from Spain, he struggled with the physicality but is now hitting back at the doubters after a period of adaptation.

Leeds have only conceded three times in the league this season, something their man between the sticks has had a vital say in ensuring.

Article title: Leeds stopper Kiko Casilla just needed time to hit back at criticism

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