Leeds news: Phil Hay wants to see Luke Ayling return to right-back


Leeds United suffered their third straight defeat on Saturday afternoon as Brighton & Hove Albion clinched a priceless 1-0 win at Elland Road. 

The Whites were uncharacteristically devoid of spark against the Seagulls and failed to create much by way of goal scoring opportunities. 

While one would normally point fingers at the creative players during a run of three games without a goal, the positioning of Luke Ayling in defence has equally created its own problem. 

Ayling has moved from his usual home at right-back and filled in at centre-back to deal with Leeds' mounting injury list in recent weeks, starting at the heart of the defensive unit in their last seven league outings. 

His marauding presence down the right flank has been sorely missed, though, and now Phil Hay has suggested that he should return to his natural position as soon as possible.

While writing in his post-match Q&A column on The Athletic, Hay suggested that Diego Llorente should return to the starting XI for the first time since his shaky debut against Chelsea in early December.

"I'd like to see Llorente come in and Ayling go back to right-back, with Dallas on the left. That's surely the best balance (when Koch is unavailable). It's a bit needs-must at the moment because of injuries."

GIVEMESPORT's Jack Saville says...

Llorente endured a true Premier League baptism of fire in front of 2000 boisterous Chelsea fans at Stamford Bridge last month and has been absent ever since. 

The Spaniard was back on the bench at the weekend following a six-game absence from the matchday squad due to injury, and his return could be exactly what Marcelo Bielsa needs to maximise Ayling's potential.

While Ayling has commendably plugged a gaping gap in the Whites' defence in recent weeks, his absence on the overlap has been felt and his injection of dynamism could breathe fresh life into what was a tepid attack against Brighton. 

With Leeds due to face a typically compact Newcastle in their next outing, Ayling's return to right-back could make all the difference. 

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