Leeds United put in a blistering display against Aston Villa last night to end the home side’s unbeaten start to the Premier League in impressive fashion.
The Whites secured the win with a tremendous second-half hat-trick from Patrick Bamford enough to secure all three points.
But the win was all the more impressive considering Marcelo Bielsa was without several key members of his first-team for the fixture.
Liam Cooper and Kalvin Phillips, two pillars of the Leeds United starting XI, were both out with injuries, and with Pascal Struijk being asked to fill in for Phillips in midfield, Bielsa had to move Luke Ayling in from right-back to plug the centre-back gap.
Leeds United fans had nothing to worry about, as Ayling put in a stunning display at the heart of defence, defying his relative lack of experience in the role.
Ayling was strong in the air, marshalled Ollie Watkins with ease, and was also an excellent distributor of the ball from the backline.
The 29-year-old proved that he has what it takes to fill in the role, even though Leeds fans will undoubtedly want to see him back in his more preferred right-back role in the next Leeds United game.
Indeed, some Leeds fans are so impressed by Ayling’s start to the season, that suggestions of a potential place in the England squad are now starting to do the rounds on Twitter.
Here is some of the best reaction to Ayling’s display against Villa last night…
Luke Ayling for England!#lufc
— LEEDS UTD MEMORIES🏆 (@LUFCHistory) October 23, 2020
Word for Luke Ayling who has looked every inch a Premier League player since the first whistle against Liverpool #lufc
— FionaCK 💙💛 (@FionaCK) October 23, 2020
A great half so far for Ayling. Saved us twice 👏👏 #LUFC
— LUFCMOT (@LUFCMOTcom) October 23, 2020
What a game Ayling has had. Shackleton been brilliant since he came on too. #LUFC
— J (@BalticBulldog) October 23, 2020
Hats off to Ayling he’s been fantastic tonight 🙌 #lufc
— Lotte (@lotteyates_) October 23, 2020
You’ve barely noticed Ayling, apart from that goal line clearance. And i mean that as the highest compliment #LUFC
— Chris Cole (@ChrisCole186) October 23, 2020
— Diddlysquat. (@rikko71) October 23, 2020
Ayling has been immense. I was so wrong about him #lufc
— Saahil D (@BhagArjunBhag) October 23, 2020
Bamford will rightly get MOM but Luke Ayling has been absolutely brilliant tonight #LUFC
— Scott Jones (@No1Jonesy) October 23, 2020
Luke Ayling has been immense tonight. Leeds simply unplayable 2nd half. Fantastic.#LUFC
— TRAGEDY OF GLOUCESTER. (@TRAGEDYOFGLOUC1) October 23, 2020
Ayling has been a mountain #lufc
— James Miles – The Mortgage Quarter (@JamesMilesTMQ) October 23, 2020
luke ayling by far and away player of the season so far #LUFC
— Tom Lawrence (@CL_908) October 23, 2020