Illan Meslier earned a number of plaudits due to his incredible showing against Sheffield United as Leeds kept their first clean sheet of the season.
The Frenchman, who signed for Leeds on a £5.85m permanent deal in the summer, certainly deserved all the praise that came his way, making two incredible saves to keep the Blades out as both John Lundstram and George Baldock tried their luck.
The 20-year-old looks to be the real deal, having kept seven clean sheets in 10 league appearances last season, before once again proving to be Leeds’ hero on Sunday.
However, despite all the signs being positive at the moment, having a goalkeeper so young as your first-choice will always be something of a risk.
Confidence and form are so key for any goalkeeper, and we don’t know how Meslier will recover from a setback or a blunder, simply because he hasn’t made a big mistake yet, and for some goalkeepers, one mistake is enough to derail an entire career.
Kiko Casilla made three errors in three consecutive games last season against Wigan, Nottingham Forest and Brentford, with Phil Hay stating that his head had gone after his blunder against the Bees, showing how key confidence is for a goalie.
Former-Leeds star Paul Robinson has admitted he was never the same after his error vs Croatia in 2007, while David De Gea has gone from being one of the best goalkeepers in the world, to an error-prone mess in recent times, with the Spaniard’s ongoing issues again being linked to his confidence.
Relying on a man who has played just 44 senior games to be your number one for the season in the Premier League is a big risk. The sample size simply isn’t big enough to be certain that he’s a goalie capable of being consistent throughout a season at this level, and we don’t know how he’d recover from a setback.
While Meslier’s current form is good enough, if he doesn’t react well to his confidence being knocked, that will prove to be a massive problem, making him something of a ticking time-bomb in Leeds’ squad.
Of course, Casilla remains at the club as a backup, but with a string of high-profile errors to his name in the Championship over the past season and a half, it’s hard to imagine he can be relied on to do a competent job in the Premier League.
Perhaps United’s best course of action would be to get a more experienced and capable number two through the door before the transfer deadline to ensure that Meslier is well protected.