Leeds United defender Luke Ayling has had a disappointing start to the 2021/22 season, according to presenter Joe Wainman.
What did Wainman say about Ayling?
Ayling has established himself as a fans’ favourite at Elland Road since joining the club back in 2016. However, Wainman feels he has fallen below his usual standards in the opening weeks of the current campaign.
Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, he said: “I think Luke Ayling’s not had a great start to the season from what we’re used to. But again, can you maintain the level season after season? It’s difficult, and at times people will have lulls.”
What are Luke Ayling’s stats so far this season?
The 30-year-old actually made a bright start to the season, scoring in Leeds’ opening game against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Marcelo Bielsa’s men went on to concede five goals that afternoon, though, and their form has not improved a great deal since.
In their first four matches, Leeds have shipped 11 goals – only Newcastle have let in more goals in the top-flight – and have picked up just two points, which leaves them down in 17th place.
Ayling has actually been the team’s fourth-best player according to WhoScored, having received an average rating of 6.56. It ought to be noted that his score for last season was up at 6.94, though, highlighting how his level has dipped in recent weeks.
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Will Ayling be able to rediscover his best form?
It was not so long ago that Ayling was name-checked by England manager Gareth Southgate as a potential option at right-back for his country. Given how strong the national team are in this area, with the England boss being able to call upon Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Reece James amongst others, this shows that Ayling clearly has plenty of ability.
It’s fair to say that he has not been at his best this term, but the same could be said of a number of Leeds’ players, as they aim to prove that finishing in the top half last year was not a fluke but a sign of where the club are heading.
The Yorkshire-based side have endured a tricky start to the campaign, taking on two potential title contenders in United and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. They have fallen well short in those matches, but they now have an easier run on paper, as they face Newcastle, West Ham, Watford and Southampton in their next four fixtures.
If they can pick up a win soon, and a clean sheet to go with it, this could fill the back line, including Ayling, with confidence, and help the team start to move up the table over the next few weeks.