Owen claims Meslier was at Leeds' academy at 16, but he was in France

Michael Owen bizarrely claims he watched Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier play for the club’s academy when he was 16…. but the French stopper didn’t move to Elland Road until he was actually 19 just two years ago!

  • Michael Owen made an embarrassing error on TV about Leeds’ Illan Meslier
  • Owen said he saw Meslier, 21, playing for Leeds’ academy when he was just 16
  • But the French goal-keeper didn’t move to Elland Road until he was 19 in 2019 

Michael Owen made a bizarre punditry blunder by claiming he watched Leeds goal-keeper Illan Meslier at the club’s academy aged 16, but he didn’t move to Elland Road until he was 19.

The former Liverpool and Manchester United striker gave a detailed account of a memory of watching Meslier in an academy match at Leeds several years ago, even going as far as saying the French stopper ‘looked the part’. 

Owen was praising Meslier’s performance in Leeds’ 2-1 defeat to West Ham on Saturday. 


Michael Owen (left) made an embarrassing error when discussing Leeds’ Illan Meslier (right)

Owen claimed he watched Meslier in Leeds’ academy aged 16, but he only joined the club at 19

The 21-year-old has made the most saves of any Premier League goal-keeper this season and saved Leeds’ blushes by keeping out several efforts from Hammers players, even though two did beat him.

However, in showering Meslier in plaudits, Owen couldn’t save his own embarrassment as he shared an apparent recollection of Meslier on Premier League TV.

‘I remember watching him when he was about 16 at Leeds’ academy,’ Owen said.

‘He just looked the part. Leeds were dominating the game that I watched.

Meslier, 21, has made the most saves of any Premier League goal-keeper this season so far

‘He hardly had a touch, but you know when you just see someone thinking “he’s got a chance”? Just by his appearance, the way he spoke, positioned himself.’ 

However, Meslier only joined Leeds two years ago, initially on a loan deal, aged 19. Before that he was at Ligue 1 side Lorient in France, the club whose academy he joined from six years old. 

Owen’s comments would place the Leeds academy game he watched in 2017, when Meslier was No 1 in Lorient’s reserve side before making his professional debut for the club the following year.

Whether a case of mistaken identity or not, it’s clear that whoever Owen did watch in the Leeds academy all those years ago, he thought a lot of him.  




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