Leeds United team news v Manchester City: Rasmus Kristensen out for Luke Ayling - Sky Sports pundit
We’re delighted to welcome former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson as our exclusive columnist as each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Leeds United…
Paul Robinson has backed Jesse Marsch to axe Rasmus Kristensen and start Luke Ayling at right-back when Leeds United welcome Manchester City to Elland Road.
Leeds return to Premier League action on Wednesday (28 December) with a difficult test against Pep Guardiola’s title-chasing side, who’ll have a fully rested Erling Haaland no doubt spearheading their attack.
In order to deal with the threat Haaland and his teammates pose, Robinson deems it best that Denmark right-back Kristensen is left out so that Ayling can start at right-back.
He also wants Liam Cooper to start at centre-back alongside either Robin Koch or Diego Llorente.
Speaking to MOT Leeds News, Robinson said: “I’ve said all season that Luke Ayling has to play if he’s fit.
“He gives you leadership qualities. He and Liam Cooper are huge.
“There are not many voices on that pitch, there aren’t many leaders. If you look around the field – except for maybe Tyler Adams – there are not many captains on the pitch.
“Cooper and Ayling give you that. Kristensen’s done okay but defensively, he’s susceptible.
“If he’s fit and available, I’d play Ayling and Cooper. Llorente and Koch have been inconsistent.
“Cooper has his flaws but he’s the leader of the group so you play him with another and Ayling alongside.”
Ayling played at centre-back in the 4-2 friendly defeat to Monaco at Elland Road on Tuesday (20 December) while Kristensen played in his usual right-back role.
Kristensen, 25, has played the majority of games this season, starring in 12 of Leeds’ 14 Premier League matches.
Ayling, 31, has played eight times in all competitions this season but has started just one Premier League fixture.
In other Leeds United news, we can exclusively reveal a major decision being made on Liam Cooper after he missed the friendly defeat to Monaco.