Leeds United employee: Luke Ayling tipped for starting XI after injury update – Football Insider

  • September 11, 2022

By Noel Whelan
Luke Ayling is ready to come back into the Leeds United starting XI, according to Noel Whelan.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Whites striker and club ambassador insisted Ayling is the “ideal replacement” for Rasmus Kristensen.
The 31-year-old made his first appearance of the season last weekend (3 September) as he came off the bench to register an assist in Leeds’ 5-2 loss to Brentford.
Cody Drameh started the game but struggled and was taken off for Ayling after 70 minutes.
Kristensen missed the trip to west London due to an injury and the Telegraph’s Mike McGrath reported on Wednesday (7 September) that he could miss another three weeks of action.
Ayling himself missed the opening weeks of the season after having surgery on a knee issue over the summer.
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Asked whether Kristensen’s setback could open the door for Ayling to return to the starting XI, Whelan told Football Insider correspondent Ewan Kingsbury: “Yes.
“If you are looking for a like-for-like and that leadership value that you get, then you don’t look any further than Luke Ayling.
“I know Drameh came in but if you are going for that experience and that captain quality, then you don’t look any further than Luke Ayling.
“He plays the role so well, he comes up with great moves in the final third, he can defend one-v-ones, he covers well with the centre-halves.
“I think he’s your ideal replacement and your only replacement right now to take the place of Kristensen.” 
Ayling has now played 65 times in the Premier League for Leeds since their return to the top flight.
The Englishman, who only has a year left on his contract, has made 221 appearances across all competitions for the Whites.
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