Leeds United: Whelan - 'Shocking' Ayling needs to improve defensively

By Noel Whelan

23rd Mar, 2021 | 9:30am

Whelan blasts 'shocking' Ayling after what he saw Leeds star do

Luke Ayling was guilty of “shocking defending” and got it “badly wrong” for Leeds United against Fulham on Friday. 

That is according to ex-Leeds star and boyhood supporter Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after Marcelo Bielsa’s side’s 2-1 win at Craven Cottage.

Ayling completed just two of nine long passes, lost the ball 22 times and finished the match with a crossing accuracy of 0 per cent from five attempts (Wyscout).

The 29-year-old right-back was outmuscled from a corner, leaving Joachim Andersen to score Fulham’s only goal of the game in the 38th minute.

Whelan blasted Ayling, highlighting a lack of aggression in his marking of Andersen which was rectified when Diego Llorente was tasked with marking him.

He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “Ayling when he was marking the defender Andersen, that was shocking defending on his part.

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“Andersen is by far their most aggressive player in that box. Putting Ayling up against him? No. Once they put Llorente on him in that second half, that was better.

“You’ve got Ayling there that’s being muscled out of it. He’s then facing his own goal, not even looking where his man is. That’s not defending. That is someone that has got no idea where the man behind him is going to go.

“It’s as simple as that. That match-up was all wrong. Once you got Llorente next to him, look how aggressive they were with each other.

“At some points, they were grabbing each other’s shirts. That is somebody there ready for the fight. I think Ayling got it badly wrong.”

Ayling had a headed goal disallowed in the first half against Fulham.

It would have been his sixth goal in 183 Leeds appearances and his first in the top-flight.

In other news, a top pundit claims Leeds United must enter the transfer market for a striker after Patrick Bamford’s injury scare.