Leeds United defender Luke Ayling is not good enough to play at centre-back, according to Sky Sports reporter Ben Ransom.
The 29-year-old has featured at central defence 28 times for Leeds, with the majority of those appearances coming in the Championship.
Ransom criticised Ayling following a mistake against Brighton last Saturday, when he left Neal Maupay in too much space to tap into an open goal.
On Sky Sports’ Pitch to Post Review podcast (25:10), Ransom said, “Luke Ayling I’m afraid to say is not a central defender, he’s not played at central defence in a Premier League season before.
“He’s had to step in and fill in, he’s obviously very versatile and has the height and stature for it but he’s been a marauding full-back for the last couple of years.
“It’s tough for him, he was oblivious to Maupay, that’s what happens in the Premier League, in the Championship you sometimes get away with things but the Premier League is just more ruthless.”
Square pegs in round holes
Luke Ayling definitely made a mistake for the Brighton goal.
A simple bit of movement from Maupay proved too tricky for Ayling to deal with, and that exposed his frailties in the middle of a back four.
Marcelo Bielsa will hopefully use that moment as a turning point and make an important decision against Newcastle next week.
Diego Llorente was fit enough for the bench against Brighton and played 45 minutes for the under 23s on Monday, and he is a player we want to see brought in.
His introduction would allow Ayling to return to his more familiar right-back role, with Stuart Dallas moving to left-back.
Other than Llorente’s inclusion, that would see a return to the back four that started the season and performed so well in the win against Everton.
A level of certainty and understanding between players can go a long way in improving a defence, so it is time Bielsa stopped playing players out of position.
However, we should say that, overall, Bill has dione a sterling job in an unfamiliar role.
In other Leeds United news, the club may swoop for a striker this month amid interest from other clubs.