Pundit surprised by Jesse Marsch decision on Luke Ayling at Leeds United

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 is surprised by Jesse Marsch’s decision to play Rasmus Kristensen ahead of Luke Ayling as the starting right-back at Leeds United.

Ayling, 31, returned from injury in the 5-2 defeat to Brentford over a month ago and after working on his fitness in the prolonged break before the draw with Aston Villa, summer signing Kristensen was still picked ahead of the Elland Road mainstay.

Ayling did come off the bench for the final 22 minutes of the goalless draw with Villa, in which Liam Cooper also made his return to the starting line-up.

While Cooper impressed, Robinson has struggled to get his head around Ayling’s omission from Marsch’s starting line-up.

“Leeds have been defensively poor this season and Liam Cooper is a leader,” Robinson told MOT Leeds News.

They needed their captain on the pitch and he performed like one at the weekend.

I think it’s important he stays fit and stays in the team.

It was a good performance with 10 men but it’s not the type of performance the manager would have been looking for.

Aston Villa are not in great form at the moment, they’re a team that’s struggling.

They showed that when they couldn’t break Leeds down but Leeds did defend well – a lot better than they have done previously.

I’m surprised Luke Ayling didn’t come back into the side but with Liam Cooper coming back in, they looked a more solid unit.”

Ayling played 81 minutes for Leeds’ Under-21s on 16 September and featured in more minutes of the Villa game than the Brentford one, where he made his first appearance since last season.

Whether Kristensen has taken the starting spot or whether Ayling’s fitness isn’t yet up to scratch remains to be seen but Robinson seems to believe it’s the former.

In other Leeds United news, Adam Forshaw has shared how Marsch tore into one player in front of everyone at traning.