When Leeds signed Luke Ayling from Bristol City in the summer many eyebrows were raised as to whether the Whites needed the right back having already got Lewie Coyle and Gaetano Berardi in that area. However, fans couldn’t have been more wrong to not want Ayling in their side.
Ayling arrived at Leeds for around £700,000 and you probably won’t find more of a steal this season. In the position Leeds are in and the form that Ayling is in you’d be expecting the full back to cost four or five times more than what Leeds paid for him in the summer.
The 25-year-old also settled into life at Leeds very quickly and has played in every minute of every league after making his debut against Birmingham City back in September. I was impressed with Ayling from his first game, maybe even go as far as to say he was Leeds’ man of the match that day and would admit I was also one of many fans who doubted whether we needed the full back when we signed him.
Ayling isn’t just an attacking full back, as it stands he currently leads the way in most successful tackles, with 54 which is the fourth highest in the Championship and the most at Leeds this season ahead of the likes of Pontus Jansson and Kyle Bartley, who have been on the end of fans tongues ever since the pair started together. So why have not many fans been mentioning Ayling?
The main reason is because Ayling is your typical ‘seven a game’ man, meaning if you were to see his average rating per game he’d perfectly average seven. Which is ironic as his average score on Whoscored.com is 7.04.
The signing of Ayling will have also been a breath of fresh air for Stuart Dallas and Taylor down the left hand side as most of Leeds’ play from last season came down that side. Now Ayling has built a partnership with Haid Sacko Leeds look more dangerous going down the right than they do the left.
Ayling is starting to get the praise he deserves in recent weeks. One thing I have noticed in recent weeks is that when Marching on Together starts playing before the start of a game, the full back just stands there and looks into the Kop and takes it all in. Also look at him when Leeds score, the lad clearly knows what it means to be a Leeds United player. I think against Aston Villa he celebrated Kemar Roofe’s first goal for Leeds more than Roofe himself.
In my opinion this has been the best bit of business that Garry Monk may do all season and to only have paid £700,000 is a major steal and I’m still unsure as to why Bristol City let him go, but their loss is Leeds’ gain.
Reporter – Matthew Beedle