By George Overhill

9th Sep, 2022 | 5:38pm

Leeds United defender Luke Ayling has 'seriously mashed' nose after Ben Mee clash at Brentford

Leeds United defender Luke Ayling’s nose is “seriously mashed” after it was injured immediately upon his return to the team after surgery at Brentford, says Joe Donnohue.

Moments after coming on as a second half substitute for Cody Drameh during the 5-2 defeat last weekend (3 September) the Whites veteran had a clash of heads with the Bees’ Ben Mee and required treatment.

He recovered sufficiently at the time to soon lay on an assist for Marc Roca’s first United goal but the damage has been lasting and Yorkshire Evening Post reporter Donnohue has speculated he could need to wear a mask when he next plays.

Speaking on the Inside Elland Road podcast from the YEP Donnohue asked: “Do you think Luke Ayling is going to be wearing some kind of Batman-esque mask if he does play on Monday? Because, have you seen the pictures of his nose?”

Graham Smyth replied: “I haven’t actually seen the aftermath. That was a really worrying collision.”

Donnohue continued: “It’s seriously mashed. That’s the best word for it. It looks like he’s been run into by a succession of elbows.

“He’s mates with Josh Warrington isn’t he. He could probably ask for some advice there.”

Unfortunate

It was hardly the welcome back to first team action that the 31-year-old would have hoped for to immediately be smashed in the face during an accidental clash, but that’s what he got.

Having come in amidst a pretty awful performance at the back and injected some impetus down the right hand side the senior player had put himself back into the equation at the position in light of Rasmus Kristensen’s injury.

Drameh had started with the Dane out, while Ayling is in the final year of his contract and beginning to be seen as on the way out.

The postponement of matches following the death of the Queen is likely to have quite an impact on the Whites set up at right-back as summer signing Kristensen may now be fit again once the team playnext, meaning Drameh and Ayling’s opportunity might be gone for now.

But with the new man struggling to adapt more than expected the other two surely have their eye on more minutes, which the older of the two put himself in a better position for at the Brentford Community Stadium.

The youngster certainly deserves more chances after his development at Cardiff last season, but it would be no surprise to see Jesse Marsch turn to Ayling again in the near future.

Whether his nose will have healed in the meantime is another factor that will be affected by the postponements, otherwise he might need to adapt to playing in a protective mask.

In other Leeds United news, the club are in line for some major new sponsorship deals with “global brands”.