'Wow, we're really going for it' - Whelan reacts as Leeds close to agreeing reported new deal
Noel Whelan has delivered the thumbs-up to Leeds United continuing their blizzard of contract renewals by tying down Luke Ayling.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-United forward insisted the defender, 28, is a key player in Marcelo Bielsa’s team and fully deserves extended terms.
Leeds Live reported that Ayling is on the verge of following a number of his senior colleagues by agreeing a new deal.
The right-back has yet to play for the first team this season after undergoing ankle surgery over the summer but is close to making a comeback.
Asked for his verdict on the latest in a series of contract renewals by the club, Whelan told Football Insider : “Wow, we’re really going for it. A new contract for Luke Ayling is absolutely deserved. He’s a key player, experienced, massive in the dressing room and proven in the Championship.
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“He’s been the first choice right-back when fit and available under many different managers, and Bielsa obviously rates him highly.”
Stuart Dallas has taken over as right-back this season after being converted into a defender with great success by the United manager.
Whelan believes it is essential Leeds have competition for places, especially over what is expected to be a gruelling Championship campaign.
“You need strength in depth in your squad,” he said. “Stuart Dallas has done exceptionally well but you need to have your players pushing each other, and it’s great there is going to be a real fight for the right-back position.
“Luke Ayling faces a battle to win back his place from Dallas, but that can only be a good thing for Leeds.”
In other Leeds United news, it can be REVEALED that senior players are finding teammate an “absolute nightmare” at Thorp Arch.