Noel Whelan has blasted critics of Leeds United defender Luke Ayling after seeing him come under fire from some corners at Elland Road.

The former Leeds striker and lifelong supporter of the club, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that it is unfair of fans to single out one player after three games without a win.

Fans of the Whites took to social media to criticise Ayling’s display against Fulham in the 2-1 defeat, while they were on his back again in the 1-1 draw with Preston North End on Boxing Day.

Whelan says that while the 28-year-old might not have lived up to his usual high standards in recent weeks, it would be unfair to single him out when a number of players are in the same boat.

“I don’t think Luke has really hit the heights of what we’ve seen as well,” Whelan told Football Insider.

“He’s still finding that kind of nines and tens in those performances. He’s probably giving us eights and sevens at the minute. 

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“I think there’s a lot of players where there’s more in them as well so I think it’s unfair to single one person out because he had a good game in one of the last games that he played. He seems to be getting better, more like himself.” 

Ayling had missed the start of the 2019/20 season through injury, the right-back returning to action in October, but he has since re-established himself as a mainstay of Marcelo Bielsa’s starting XI.

He has played 15 times in the Championship this season, taking the captain’s armband in the absence of Liam Cooper.

In other Leeds United news, Darren Bent has been blown away by the transformation of one senior star at Elland Road.