Noel Whelan has insisted Luke Ayling is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines at Leeds United as he prepares to play second fiddle to Stuart Dallas this season.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-United forward claimed Dallas will be the first choice right-back even when Ayling is available for selection again.
The former Bristol City defender has been a mainstay of the Leeds back line since joining in the summer of 2016 under not only Marcelo Bielsa but also former managers Garry Monk, Thomas Christiansen and Paul Heckingbottom.
— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 26, 2019
Ayling underwent ankle surgery last month but Leeds uploaded footage on to their official Twitter account this week that showed he is stepping up his rehabilitation a their training headquarters.
Whelan is convinced the longstanding starter should start preparing for a bench role.
“I don’t think Ayling will get back in the side even when he is fully fit,” the Leeds expert told Football Insider. “Bielsa won’t take Dallas out of the side, you would be mad to.
“I’m sure he will be pushed by Ayling when he is available again, and vice versa. That’s the sort of players we have got at the club now. They support each other and don’t undermine each other.
“As a defender, Ayling has the upper hand on Dallas but Bielsa has been using the full-backs almost as wing-backs, and, in attacking spaces, Dallas comfortably has the upper hand.
Ayling has made 116 appearances for Leeds over three years, making 40 league starts among 42 appearances under Bielsa last season.
Dallas has started all five of United’s Championship matches at right-back this season.
In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that the club are to hold imminent talks with 23-year-old over a deal worth more than £10million.