By Nick Ware

15th Aug, 2021 | 7:34pm

Gary Neville hails Leeds United defender Luke Ayling after goal v Manchester United

Gary Neville has hailed Leeds United defender Luke Ayling despite the Whites’ 5-1 defeat to Manchester United on Saturday afternoon.

Leeds were humbled at Old Trafford as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side went on a goal rampage in the second half of their Premier League opener.

However, there was one real moment of quality from the Whites as Ayling scored a long-range effort to level the game at 1-1 before the Red Devils ran away with the game.

Speaking on Sky Sports [15/08/21] on Sunday after Tottenham Hotspur beat Manchester City, Neville turned his attention towards events at Old Trafford on the previous day.

He said: “Leeds I think are the perfect opponents, this was an unbelievable goal and you’re thinking ‘that’s what Leeds can do’.

“But I just think Manchester United playing Leeds last year was an exact replica of that, they play one-on-one and Manchester United just pulled them apart.

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“Bruno [Fernandes] and Paul Pogba were absolutely outstanding.”

Special strike

It really was a sensational goal by Ayling and one that deserved to count for something.

Unfortunately, Leeds were pulled apart by the home side on Saturday as poor defending cost us at key moments.

There were not many players that could hold their heads up high, and even Ayling was culpable at times.

However, Neville’s claim that Leeds are the “perfect” opponents for Manchester United to face seems a bit harsh.

Yes, we have lost heavily to them twice, but let’s not forget the 0-0 draw we picked up against them at Elland Road in April.

We weren’t quite so open on that occasion, and after only playing them three times recently it’s a bit premature to say we’re the ideal team for Manchester United to play.

In other Leeds United news, a journalist has shared Rio Ferdinand’s gesture after Whites fans taunted him at Old Trafford on Saturday.