The Athletic’s Phil Hay has delivered his verdict on how important Luke Ayling’s return could be to Leeds United.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side have been without Ayling for the past five games in the Premier League, and the latest update from the Leeds boss indicated that there is no current time-line on his potential return.
Now, in response to a question from a fan about just how much the Whites have missed the 30-year-old, Hay admitted that him coming back could provide a much-needed potential boost to the side.
He said: “I agree with this. He’s a key figure in the dressing room and him returning fresh after injury might be a big shot in the arm.”
In the past, Hay has emphasised how important Ayling is to this team, declaring: “The more you look at him and analyse him, the more you realise he’s integral to everything Leeds do.”
And, speaking just last year, former Scotland manager Alex McLeish raved about the consistency with which Leeds’ Mr Reliable plays with.
He said: “We talk about Luke nearly every week, we always give him a mention. He’s such an enthusiast for the game. It’s a guy who clearly loves his football and his roles within Leeds United, not only as a full-back, he’s got the centre-back skills as well – he’s got versatility.
“He’s a really, really good example to any young player coming up because he’s been through the ranks. You see where he started and now he’s playing in the Premier League.”
As Hay says, having Ayling back in the near future could well be the “big shot in the arm” Leeds need amid a difficult start to the Premier League campaign.
They have started the season with just two wins in ten so the likes of Ayling, Raphinha and Patrick Bamford returning will be huge for the Whites, thus leaving the club’s supporters overjoyed.