Speaking on the All Leeds TV YouTube channel, presenter Chris Kelly has claimed Luke Ayling has to step up his performances this campaign.
It has been a disappointing season thus far for Leeds who performed great without fans inside Elland Road and other stadiums last campaign finishing ninth, however, after four Premier League games, they are still yet to pick up their first win.
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It doesn’t appear that Marcelo Bielsa has attempted to do anything different at Leeds this season as they are still pressing teams the most in the league with 737 already this season and they managed to rack up 6661 last time out, both see them sit top of the table in that stat (FBRef). Although, results haven’t followed, potentially showing that top-flight football could be too much for some players or that opposition sides are figuring them out.
Kelly spoke about how Ayling in particular must step up
(0:34) “We need to see more of that, he [Phillips] stepped up his game so much, we need to see it from other players. We had a great season last season, but some players haven’t kicked on this season yet.
“We are only four games in but [some players] haven’t kicked on yet, I’ve got to say. I don’t like saying it but I’m expecting more from players like Luke Ayling and stuff like that. He just, he hasn’t looked quite at it yet this season. Hopefully, it’ll come.”
TIF Thoughts on Leeds and Aylings’ performances…
This season, it appears that Ayling is trying to do a lot when he has the ball and to make something happen having attempted the most passes in Leeds’ squad (263) but it seems like he’s maybe forcing the pass a lot of the time as he sits in the top two (FBRef) for times a pass went out of play (four), was intercepted (nine) and when it was blocked by an opponent (11)
Last season saw Ayling play as a centre back 13 times which didn’t see him progress as far forward up the pitch as a full-back does, however, now he has the responsibility of linking up with Raphinha, especially with defenders now knowing how capable the Brazilian is when he gets the ball at his feet, completing 61 of his 118 attempted dribbles last season, so this added pressure could be forcing Ayling to make more mistakes on the ball.