Leeds United have enjoyed a very strong start to the season but defeat last time out against Swansea City was a sharp reminder of how tough this league can be.
The Whites went into the international break in third position and their performances over the first six games have convinced many observers that Marcelo Bielsa’s men will be the team to beat in the second-tier in the coming months.
Yet, their campaign last time out was hindered by injury problems and the Argentinian has had to cope without some big players already this term.
One of those has been Luke Ayling.
The right-back has been a key man over the years, however he has had to watch on in the opening month of this season and he hasn’t been missed.
Northern Ireland international Stuart Dallas has been outstanding filling in at right-back and even though Ayling will be delighted for his teammate, he will know he has a real battle to win his place back.
But, that’s not going to happen any time soon, with Football Insider revealing that the 28-year-old is unlikely to be in the first-team for another month.
That will be a real frustration for Ayling and he knows that if the team keep performing as they have been he will be restricted to watching on from the bench.
Bielsa has shown time and time again that he rewards players who deliver for him and it is going to be very tough for the ex-Bristol City man to force his way into this XI.
Again, there’s no suggestion that Ayling won’t want the best for Leeds and if he has to play a bit-part role to help the club to the Premier League, he will surely see it is a price worth paying.
However, from the perspective of his own career, he will have had high hopes of becoming a real leader and influential player in this stylish Leeds United side that are looking to finally take the Yorkshire outfit back to the top-flight.
This ankle injury is proving to be a real problem for him though. Even now, Ayling will be worried that his importance to the team is no longer what it was and this campaign is not going how he will have envisaged.
Nevertheless, things can change very quickly in football though and the reliable defender will hope that he can still be a central figure to this Leeds promotion push, even if it seems unlikely right now.
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