By Dan Carter

19th Oct, 2023 | 5:40pm

Luke Ayling has perfect chance to earn Leeds United spot after Farke comments on Archie Gray

Few Leeds United players have been at Elland Road longer than Luke Ayling, but the right-back has found himself in limbo over the last few weeks.

Before the October international break, the 32-year-old only started one of the Whites’s four most recent matches, seeing Daniel Farke prefer to use both Jamie Shackleton and Archie Gray on the right of defence instead of the former Bristol City man.

With Djed Spence on the road to recovery following his MCL injury earlier this season, many have suggested that Ayling only has five games to show why he deserves to be Farke’s first choice right back [Beren Cross, 18 October], but the Leeds veteran may have received a boost.

Farke revealed on Thursday (19 October) that he was unhappy with the workload imposed on 17-year-old Gray during the international break as he featured for England’s under-19 side and admitted that he had not taken part in full training since [Phil Hay].

While the German manager said that Gray was still in contention to feature against Norwich City on Saturday (21 October), Ayling may now be the favourite to start at right-back at Carrow Road having had two weeks to rest over the international break while also being in training on Thursday.

The 32-year-old should be very fresh having last started a game in the first week of October and should be chomping at the bit to get some minutes on the pitch as he looks to win back his place in defence having been recently rooted to the bench.

Shackleton has also recovered from the injury that kept him out of the clash with Bristol City before the international break, so there is every chance that Farke opts to deploy the 24-year-old in the backline if he believes that he would be a better fit than Ayling.

Should Ayling find himself out of the starting XI once again at Carrow Road, he may well have to consider his future with Leeds United, if he is struggling to start matches while Spence is sidelined, he will have no hope of playing when the Tottenham loanee returns to action.

Farke has an incredibly tough decision to make when he names his side against the Canaries, but with Gray fatigued, Spence sidelined and Shackleton just returning, the clash with Norwich feels set up for Ayling to reclaim his position at right-back.

In other Leeds United news, Real Betis may not be able to afford to pay Marc Roca’s buy clause next summer