By Mark Smith

12th Jun, 2020 | 2:30pm

Mel Sterland backs 'absolutely magnificent' Leeds player to win end of season award

Mel Sterland has backed Leeds United defender Luke Ayling to win the Player of the Year award at Elland Road this season.

The former Whites right-back believes that Ayling deserves the award ahead of the likes of Stuart Dallas, Kalvin Phillips and Ben White who have all received strong backing.

Ayling has become a leader this season and has even started to find the back of the net – who can forget that screamer against Huddersfield.

Sterland believes that Ayling was a bargain when he arrived, and he has certainly proved that this season.

“I think he should get player of the season, 100 per cent,” he told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“I think he has been absolutely magnificent.

“He’s been magnificent, scoring goals, making goals, defending well and then you think what they paid for him which was next to nothing.”

There wouldn’t be many arguments over any player winning the award, with each and every member bouncing back from last season’s disappointment superbly.

Looking at Ayling though, Sterland certainly has a point. The 28-year-old has become a weapon for Leeds in the final third, and some sides haven’t been able to handle him.

The defender completes 2.34 progressive attacking runs in each game and also averages 1.47 touches in the opposition penalty area per 90 minutes according to WyScout.

As we said, any player could win the award, but Sterland has come forward with an early nomination for Ayling and he certainly has a case.

In other Leeds United news, this Championship boss has made a bold claim about the EFL after Tuesday’s general meeting