By James Murray

29th Oct, 2023 | 7:10pm

Luke Ayling edges closer to Leeds United exit after stinker v Huddersfield Town

Luke Ayling looks to be edging closer to an exit from Leeds United after his performance against Huddersfield Town on Saturday (28 October).

The 32-year-old came off the bench to replace Sam Byram in the 60th minute as the Whites cruised to a 4-1 victory over their Yorkshire rivals.

But the right-back’s display was one of the very few disappointments for Daniel Farke’s side as they bounced back from a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Stoke City in midweek.

There is no doubt that Ayling is highly regarded at Elland Road as that would be the case for any player that has been at the club for seven years.

Since making the move from Bristol City in 2016, he has made 266 appearances in a Whites shirt, registering 11 goals and 21 assists.

The defender has experienced the biggest highs as well as the lowest lows in recent years, but his commitment to the cause has never wavered.

His influence and standing within the team has, however, started to diminish under Farke this season and he now appears to be nothing more than a bit-part player.

After starting in each of the first seven Championship games of this season and captaining the side on six of those occasions, he has only started one of the past seven matches.

Alongside Liam Cooper, the right-back has emerged as a backup in his favoured position and has had to settle for a role off the bench over the past few weeks.

With Leeds 4-0 up against Huddersfield on Saturday, Ayling was handed more minutes to impress than he’s been afforded recently.

But despite the game being all but over by that point, he failed to put in a display to catch the manager’s eye and, in fact, he probably harmed his chances of earning his place in the starting lineup back.

Jamie Shackleton, who started at right-back before shifting over to left-back, had a solid outing after winning six out of his eight duels, losing possession just six times, recording a pass accuracy of 96 per cent and touching the ball 87 times [SofaScore].

Ayling came on for Sam Byram with half an hour left to play after the left-back put in a superb performance, where he had 58 touches, made four key passes, recorded a 91 pass success rate and also gave away the ball just six times.

Despite touching the ball 48 times in 30 minutes, Ayling was sloppier in possession as he registered an 83 per cent pass accuracy, lost possession on seven occasions and failed to find a teammate with his only cross.

The defender struggled to get up to the pace of the game and never really looked comfortable as the Whites weren’t quite as impressive after he came on.

With his contract up next summer and some of the younger players stealing a march on him over the past few weeks, it feels inevitable that his time at Elland Road will come to an end next year.

In other Leeds United news, a journalist has tipped one player to be worth more than £20million after a development.