Leeds United fans have torn into defender Luke Ayling for his performance in the first half against Newcastle United on Wednesday night.
Ayling, 29, was named to start in the centre-back position alongside Liam Cooper once more with Robin Koch and Diego Llorente still sidelined by injury.
The right-back’s night didn’t start the best when he collided with Kalvin Phillips and almost ended the midfielder’s game early. Luckily, it didn’t.
But Ayling’s night did get worse in the 26th minute when Jeff Hendrick scored to put Newcastle ahead at Elland Road.
It was poor defending all-round from Leeds.
Stuart Dallas was dragged out of position while playing in the right-back position, leaving Mateusz Klich out wide to try and block a cross. The Poland international failed to do that and Ayling didn’t manage to deal with Hendrick in the box as the Magpies midfielder netted.
Ayling’s mistakes led to him getting blasted by a section of supporters on Twitter with one saying that the defender has been “horrific for weeks“.
Here is a selection of their tweets:
luke ayling has been absolutely horrific for weeks
— kian (@kiandenton_) December 16, 2020
Luke Ayling is having a mare, already #lufc
— Mark Hollings (@markydh) December 16, 2020
So The tactic now is pass it out to Ayling and let him hit it long and lose possession
— Aram (@AramLeeds) December 16, 2020
DID YOU KNOW: Luke Ayling has never won a header in a professional football match. #lufc
— Matt (@_mattf7) December 16, 2020
No idea how ayling and harrison are in this team
— 𝒿𝑒𝓈𝓈𝒾𝒸𝒶 𝓁𝒾𝓁𝓎 (@_jesskirbyxo_) December 16, 2020
Harrison needs dropping muck so he is ayling poor for the goal too #lufc
— Jordan Cullen (@Cullen_Jordan1) December 16, 2020
We cannot agree with the claim that Ayling has been out-of-form for a number of games because it’s just not true.
When the Whites lost at Elland Road against West Ham at home last week, Ayling was probably the stand-out player for the home side.
Stats by Wyscout show Ayling won 13 interceptions, 14 recoveries and managed to make four clearances in that game. They are brilliant numbers for a right-back playing out of position in the middle.
Don’t be too harsh on Bill. He’s not a centre-back but is having to play there against some very good players – better than he faced in the Championship.
In other Leeds United news, Dimitar Berbatov predicted the result of the game.