'Brilliant news'- Exclusive: Whelan tips rarely-seen Leeds player for big role after int'l break

Noel Whelan has claimed it’s “brilliant news” for Leeds United that Luke Ayling is fully recovered from injury just as Liam Cooper is set for a lengthy spell out.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-United striker has tipped the long-serving defender for a big role after the international break.

Ayling has made just two appearances for Leeds this season, as a substitute in the 1-0 win over West Brom last week and then as a starter in the subsequent 2-1 defeat at Millwall.

Whelan is an admirer of the versatility and commitment of the 28-year-old.

“Ayling has a massive role to play after the international break,” Whelan told Football Insider. “He is back in at right-back and also provides cover at centre-back.

“It’s brilliant news for Leeds to have him back, with Liam Cooper out for six weeks.”

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“You know what you are getting from Luke Ayling – total effort, good experience and great energy. Stuart Dallas has been outstanding as a wing-back, but he may be needed elsewhere again.”

Dallas has been converted into an attacking full-back this season and has responded with arguably the best football of his Leeds career.

But injuries to Jamie Shackleton, Adam Forshaw and Pablo Hernandez before the international break meant Marcelo Bielsa re-deployed the Northern Ireland international in midfield at the New Den.

Ayling has made 118 appearances for Leeds since signing from Bristol City in the summer of 2016.

In other Leeds United news, the club are setting their sights on SPL big hitter for a SECOND time.