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Kevin Phillips makes Leeds United selection claim ahead of crunch-clash with Barnsley

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Leeds United could take a sizeable step towards the Premier League on Thursday evening when they return to action at Elland Road. 

Marcelo Bielsa’s side take on relegation-threatened Barnsley, in a match they’ll be expected to pick up three points from.

The Whites are currently sat top of the Championship table, and are three points clear of third-placed Brentford heading towards the conclusion of this year’s campaign.

Bielsa could have a selection dilemma heading into the game against the Tykes, with Kiko Casilla available after serving his suspension.

But the performances of Illan Meslier have caught the eye for all the right reasons since Casilla was suspended, and he’ll be hoping he can retain his place in the starting XI for the remainder of the season.

Speaking in an interview with Football Insider, former West Brom and Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips highlighted the impact that replacing Meslier in the team could have.

“If you have just won away at Swansea, a tough place to go – why upset the balance of a side? One little change can have a big impact so I would be very cautious of doing that.

“I understand why managers do because Casilla has been an integral part of the team this season and played the majority of the games so I would not be surprised if Bielsa did.”

“But I would go again unless forced to change. If you drop Meslier you would get in his head.

“It is a tough call but generally you number one keeper comes back in but off the back of that win at Swansea – why change?”

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The Verdict: 

Surely he’ll stick with Meslier?

The young Frenchman has been brilliant since coming into the starting XI for Leeds, and it should be a no-brainer for Bielsa to keep him in the team for this one.

Casilla has made some costly errors when he’s been involved, and I can see him heading for the Elland Road exit door in the summer regardless of whether they win promotion into the Premier League or not this season.

If Meslier doesn’t start against Barnsley, I’ll be stunned.


Editorial Assistant at Snack Media, writing for Football League World on a regular basis! Sports Journalism graduate from Southampton Solent University.

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Article title: Kevin Phillips makes Leeds United selection claim ahead of crunch-clash with Barnsley

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