Michael Brown has heralded Luke Ayling after his “excellent” display as a makeshift centre-back for Leeds United against Aston Villa last week.
The former Leeds midfielder, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, admits he was surprised to see the 29-year-old line up on the left-hand side of the defensive duo considering he is a natural right-back.
Ayling, who captained Leeds on the night, played the full 90 minutes of the 3-0 win to keep up his record of having played every minute of the Whites’ Premier League campaign so far.
Ayling started alongside Robin Koch at the heart of the defence as Leeds had to do without both Liam Cooper and Fernando Llorente due to injury.
Meanwhile, Pascal Struijk, who had filled in for Cooper against both Liverpool and Wolves, started a defensive midfielder in Kalvin Phillips’ absence.
Brown has lauded Ayling for his performance as a centre-back and insists he did not look out of place.
Brown told Football Insider: “Luke Ayling stepped in as a makeshift, left-sided centre-back and I thought he did very, very well.
“He organised everybody, a great display, he was excellent. He made some good recoveries, he was composed on the ball.
“What surprised me was that he didn’t go in as a right-sided centre-back, he went in as that left-sided centre-back. I thought it was a really sound display.”
Ayling, who has played 160 times for Leeds to date, also filled in as a centre-back against Sheffield United as part of a back three.
Stuart Dallas swapped flanks to fill in as a right-back against Villa, with Ezgjan Alioski brought into the starting XI to fill the void on the left.
In other Leeds United news, a Football Insider pundit has been blown away by youngster barely seen in the Premier League.