Swansea clash could be defining game in Luke Ayling's Leeds career

Luke Ayling of Leeds United and team mates celebrate infront of the away fans during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Leeds United at Villa Park on December 23, 2018...

Leeds United defender Luke Ayling has faced plenty of criticism lately.

Luke Ayling of Leeds United reacts during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Hull City at Elland Road on December 29, 2018 in Leeds, England.

With Luke Ayling proving to be an incredibly popular member of the Leeds squad, it does appear that many fans are starting to become bored of the criticism coming his way.

It is clearly no secret that many feel that the right-back has not been at his best for a while. He has had a handful of lengthy injuries since his superb first campaign at Elland Road, and has struggled to recapture that form in the last 18 months.

 

Understandably, some supporters are unhappy with how he has been playing. But with Leeds looking to get their season back on track, others seem to now feel that criticising Ayling is no longer providing anything new to the conversation - and that may work in his favour as most fans are ready to back the former Bristol City ace.

And that is why the Swansea game on Wednesday could be the ideal fixture for Ayling as he looks to win his critics round.

Daniel James of Swansea City in action during the Sky Bet Championship match between Swansea City and Sheffield United at the Liberty Stadium on January 19, 2019 in Swansea, Wales.

It just so happens that it could end up being the 27-year-old's job to keep Dan James quiet if the young winger plays. The Swans ace has predominantly featured on the left-wing this term, so the pair could play out one of the key battles at Elland Road if Graham Potter gives him a chance.

As reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, James nearly ended the January transfer window as one of Ayling's teammates before a deadline day move fell through when Swansea stopped taking calls. 

Luke Ayling of Leeds United applauds fans during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Leeds United at Villa Park on December 23, 2018 in Birmingham, England.

Losing to Swansea would obviously be a disappointing result for Leeds, but it would be even tougher to take if James played a key role in his side taking the three points - which in turn, may well heap the pressure further on Ayling.

But if Ayling shows glimpses of the defender that Whites fans saw during his first season, and manages to keep James quiet, Wednesday's game could quite easily be reflected upon as a turning point and a defining moment in his Leeds career.

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