Luke Ayling faces end of Leeds United career after Daniel Farke decision v Norwich City
Daniel Farke has named a strong starting XI for the clash between Leeds United and Norwich City as he looks to continue the Whites’ good form after the October international break.
The German boss has opted to start the same side that ran out 2-1 winners over Bristol City before the break, with Glen Kamara and Ethan Ampadu starting together in midfield, while 17-year-old Archie Gray looks to have maintained his place at right-back.
Gray impressed against the Robins before the international break despite being out of position, as he kept the typically tricky Sam Bell quiet and earned plenty of praise from both fans and Farke for how comfortable he looked in defence.
Unless Leeds United have opted for a surprising change of formation, it would appear that the Whites’ academy star has once again kept Luke Ayling out of the starting XI, with the 32-year-old limited to a role from the bench for the fourth time in the last five matches.
Ayling was expected to see his involvement reduced this season after Farke added Djed Spence to his ranks on loan from Tottenham this summer, but the former Nottingham Forest man has been sidelined with injury, seemingly leaving the veteran full-back with no obvious competition.
But both Gray and Shackleton have been preferred in recent weeks, even after the former missed Thursday’s first-team training suggestion after the Leeds boss admitted he was frustrated with the workload that he faced during the international break.
Despite those worries, Farke has still decided to pick the 17-year-old ahead of Ayling in a move that could well indicate that he is entering the twilight of his career at Elland Road, especially with Spence closing in on a return to fitness.
The right-back last signed a new deal with the Whites before their relegation to the Championship, with his current contract running out at the end of the season, Ayling may well opt to explore his options elsewhere if he remains rooted to the substitutes’ bench.
If he can’t get a game in the Championship for Leeds, it is unlikely that he’ll feature heavily should they return to the Premier League as hoped this season. It could well be best for all parties if he is allowed to end his eight-year stay in Yorkshire, if not in January, come the end of the campaign.
In other Leeds United news, the Whites seem to have done well to sell Tyler Adams this summer, after he suffered another injury