By Pranav Shahaney

4th Oct, 2022 | 5:10pm

Raphinha and Liam Cooper send messages to Leeds United defender Luke Ayling

Raphinha and Liam Cooper reacted as Luke Ayling posted a picture in his mask after the Leeds United v Aston Villa clash on Sunday.

The Englishman returned from injury in the 5-2 loss against Brentford, but injured his face which means that he will have to wear protective equipment on it until he’s fine.

This saw many current and former Leeds players react to it, and Cooper and Raphinha also chimed in on the Instagram post.

Good to have him back

Ayling has been a mainstay in this Leeds team for the last few years so it was refreshing to see him back after such a long layoff.

Rasmus Kristensen has played in his absence but he has not had the same kind of impact as the Englishman and Ayling got the start he deserved.

It’s going to be an interesting battle between the two right-backs all season and they will only push each other to get better over the next few months.

Jesse Marsch also needs to step in and rotate them well enough so that none of them really get overworked as it does get difficult at times during intense seasons.

Kristensen also has a World Cup to play in and he will be taking his fitness very seriously over the next six weeks so we’re likely to see less of him than he would usually.

However, that’s not to say he won’t step up whenever the manager calls upon him and hopefully, he improves his performance after a rather slow start to life at Elland Road.

In other Leeds United news, an Elland Road-linked midfielder is now certain to leave his club in the coming weeks as a host of Premier League clubs are vying for his services.