Jesse Marsch has dropped a promising update on the condition of Leeds United right-back Luke Ayling.
In recent comments cited by Leeds Live, the 48-year-old Whites manager revealed that, despite the defender undergoing knee surgery towards the end of May – something that was expected to keep the 30-year-old out of action for up to four months – Ayling is well ahead of schedule in his recovery, with the Arsenal academy graduate looking likely to resume full training next month.
Regarding the 30-year-old’s condition, Marsch said: “He won’t be ready for the first match, but he’s ahead of schedule, so there’s a high possibility he can be training in August. I don’t want to be too optimistic, but that’s where we’re at.”
While Ayling undoubtedly has a long way to go before he is deemed fit enough to make a return to first-team football, the fact that the 30-year-old appears to be well ahead of schedule in his recovery from injury is sure to have left Marsch buzzing.
Indeed, while it is true that the American does have the options of both 20-year-old Cody Drameh and summer signing Rasmus Kristensen to fill in at right-back in the absence of Ayling, the defender’s experience and leadership qualities will undoubtedly come as a very welcome boost to the 48-year-old’s backline upon his return.
And, while there is also an argument to be made that the former Bristol City man’s best days are now behind him – something his average SofaScore match rating of 6.61 over 26 Premier League fixtures last season would appear to back up – it is nevertheless undeniable that greater competition for a starting spot at right-back will increase the performance levels of each player in the position next season.
As such, the fact that Ayling appears to be well ahead of his predicted end-of-September return is certainly fantastic news for all involved with Leeds – not least the defender himself.