Luke Ayling was Leeds United's unsung hero against Bolton

Leeds United corner flag before the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road on February 25, 2017 in Leeds, England.

The Leeds United right-back was brilliant throughout, maintaining his great form from last season.

While Leeds United's attackers and their two-goal midfielder Kalvin Phillips got most of the plaudits after their 3-2 victory against Bolton Wanderers, one Whites defender in particular deserves plenty of praise in the form of Luke Ayling.

The right-back excelled at Elland Road last season, becoming something of an unsung hero - at least among neutrals - and finishing the campaign as one of Leeds very best performers.

Luke Ayling of Leeds United feels the cold during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Leeds United at Villa Park on December 29, 2016 in Birmingham, England.

On Sunday's evidence he looks to be bringing that form into the new campaign, with the 25-year-old performing admirably throughout and backing up his reputation as one of the first names on the Leeds team sheet.

Leeds' defensive shape was not helped by the in-game injuries suffered to Gaetano Berardi and Matthew Pennington but Ayling stood strong, finishing the game with some fine individual statistics.

  Passing AccuracyDuel WonInterceptionBall RecoveryDispossessedWon TackleEffective ClearanceEffective Head ClearanceAppearancesMins Played
Luke Ayling 87% 14 1 9 0 3 5 3 1 90

The Leeds right-back had an 87 per cent passing accuracy while he was not dispossessed all afternoon.

He also won a very impressive 14 duels, along with three tackles and one interception, and he made a total of eight effective clearances (five with his feet and three with his head).

When you also consider he recovered the ball on nine occasions, the Leeds player was their standout defender on the day, even with Vurnon Anita impressing after coming off the bench.

There is a very long way to go, but if Leeds do win promotion back to the top flight in 2018, Ayling will have a key role to play.

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