Leeds United journalist Beren Cross has given his thoughts on Marcelo Bielsa’s comments about Luke Ayling and his comeback from injury.
The 30-year-old defender has, for the most part, been a regular under Bielsa during his time at the club, racking up 124 appearances so far under the Argentinian. But he has been out of action for the past few games with an injury that he picked up against Newcastle United back in September.
He appears to be on the mend now, and speaking during his press conference ahead of their game with Brighton this weekend (as quoted by The Yorkshire Evening Post), Bielsa said the following about his recovery: “Ayling will probably be able to play with the Under-23s on Monday because he is healthy now.”
Discussing the matter on the latest edition of the Blue, White and Yellow podcast, Cross discussed Bielsa’s comments about Ayling and tried to decipher precisely when he felt the defender would be back in the swing of things with the starting XI at Elland Road:
“Bielsa didn’t say this explicitly, but I think the inference is that Ayling won’t be at Brighton, but he will be with the U23s on Monday away at Man City, which will be a good test for him and I’m sure he’ll get half an hour or maybe even a half there. And that will then slowly build up into some games for him.
“We’ve already talked about it, but I suppose if you’re looking at Brighton and Palace, then I don’t know, maybe Brentford could be a decent target for Ayling perhaps, after he’s had some U23 games? Of course, that then goes into that brutal December run. So Ayling is a step forward, which is great news.”
TIF Thoughts on Beren Cross’ comments about Marcelo Bielsa and Luke Ayling at Leeds United…
Is Ayling good enough to play for England?
This should come as great news for Leeds fans, because Ayling is someone that Leeds could really do with right now because his numbers show that he can help Leeds out both in attack and in defence.
He played almost every minute of every league game last season, whilst also ranking in the top five amongst his teammates for clearances, aerial duels won, blocks, passes, long balls and tackles per game – leading the team in the latter category (via WhoScored).
And given Leeds’ poor start to the season, as they currently sit only two points above the relegation zone having conceded 20 goals in 12 games so far this season and scoring just 12, they could use all the help that they can get to help pull away from the dropzone.
So hopefully his recovery goes as smoothly as Cross hints at, because he was key to their success last season, and can hopefully be key to getting out of trouble this time around.