Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa has said that he will keep faith in defender Luke Ayling, despite some fans calling for him to be dropped after a run of poor performances.

Recently, Leeds United defender Luke Ayling has been putting in some below-par performances, most recently in their 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough last Saturday. Ayling was in strong form prior to his knee injury but has struggled to return to his best upon his return.

His performances have seen his place in the starting eleven questioned by some Leeds supporters.

However, manager Marcelo Bielsa revealed in his pre-match press conference that he will start in Leeds’ match against Swansea City for Wednesday night’s clash.

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Bielsa – despite admitting that Ayling’s recent displays have been a bit below his usual standard – has offered his support for the defender amid recent criticism.

“For me, Bill (his nickname) Ayling is a great player, a complete player,” Bielsa told the Yorkshire Evening Post. 

“When I say complete I mean he can manage all the aspects of the game.

“He can defend as a full-back and as a centre-back. He has an aerial game which is not very common for full-backs. If we divide the pitch into three segments on the right-hand side of the pitch, he defends well, he is very good at playing out, he takes risks when we have to use the ball and the only thing that’s decreased a little bit is his offensive impact.”

The Argentine went on to add that even when he is not performing at his best, Ayling is still performing at nothing less than a six.

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“He usually gets a grade of about seven points and now he’s getting a grade of over six points,” Bielsa said.

“The only thing I can tell you about Ayling is that he contributes a little less in attack. Usually, he was getting a grade of more than seven, now it’s more than six.

“But for me, he’s a very important player for the team. He’s a player who is an example for his team-mates, the public and the fans. In football, you have very few players who don’t have ups and downs. “Even when Bill has less impact, he always scores more than six points. Even in his downs he’s over six points.


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Writer for The72 and currently studying at the University of Lincoln. Based in Peterborough/ Lincoln and often writing about Peterborough United amongst other Championship and League One clubs.