Darren Bent heaped praise on Leeds United defender Luke Ayling and revealed he thought the full-back had become crucial to Marcelo Bielsa’s side.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Laura O’Leary, the former England international suggested that Ayling offered Leeds a different option as he is able to excel at both ends of the pitch.

The defender, who played at centre-back in today’s Championship clash against Huddersfield, has played 11 times across all competitions this season, featuring in more of a central position in his last three league outings.

Bent highlighted Ayling’s ability to take on players when charging down the flank and acknowledged that the 28-year-old was prone to firing crosses into the box.

When asked if Ayling is an asset due to the way he charges up and down the flanks, Bent told Football Insider: “Yeah, he is a different option for Leeds.

“He is okay defensively and is an excellent outlet going forward as he isn’t afraid to take players on and get crosses into the box.

“He has become crucial to Leeds because he offers something at both ends.”

The 28-year-old has registered one assist so far this season after previously managing to rack up six assists across the 42 appearances he made in his 2018/19 campaign.

Ayling has been at Elland Road since joining from Bristol City in 2016 and is contracted to stay with the Whites until 2023 after signing a contract extension in October.

In other Leeds United news, Whelan claims that Christmas has come early after the club agreed an attacking deal.