Michael Brown has hailed Luke Ayling as “amazing” for how well he has adapted to filling in as an emergency centre-back for Leeds United.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Russell Edge, the ex-Whites midfielder has been blown away by the versatility and calibre of the defender who’s spent most of his career at right-back.
Ayling played at centre-half for the sixth successive Premier League match on Saturday in the 3-0 defeat at Tottenham , with Liam Cooper, Diego Llorente and Robin Koch all out injured.
Leeds have conceded 16 goals in that stretch but have also kept two clean sheets – a wonderful exemplification of the barminess of their season so far.
But despite the leakiness of the Leeds defence, Brown has been impressed with Ayling as a makeshift centre-back as their up-and-down season continued.
He told Football Insider: “Well, he’s done amazing to slot in across the position, he’s a nice lad with it as well.
“You can see he’s someone who loves football, he’s had his injuries over time and he just wants to play, doesn’t he?
“He’s absolutely on top of his game, buzzing.”
Prior to signing for Leeds from Bristol City in 2016, Ayling had spent the majority of his career in the third tier of English football and his rise in the years since has been remarkable.
His manager, Marcelo Bielsa, is as enamoured as Brown, saying of Ayling’s versatility: “When he plays as a full-back he also shines. As a centre-back, he’s shining. I think if he played as a defensive midfielder he would also be efficient.”