Luke Ayling shares pride in his Leeds United career after making two-hundredth appearance for the Whites in Premier League clash with Chelsea

Luke Ayling has been reflecting with pride on his time at Leeds United this week as the defender celebrates featuring in two hundred Whites games.

By Flora Snelson
Saturday, 18th December 2021, 12:00 pm

Ayling was drafted into Garry Monk’s Leeds squad at the eleventh hour of the summer transfer window of 2016, joining from Bristol City for £200,000 after full-back Gaetano Berardi suffered an injury on the opening day of the Championship season.

Throughout his first term at Elland Road, the defender was one of the first names on Monk’s teamsheet as the Whites narrowly missed out on a place in the Championship play-offs.

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The following season, Ayling watched from the sidelines as Thomas Christiansen’s Leeds slipped from a play-off spot to a 13th-place finish while the defender recovered from an ankle injury.

Under Marcelo Bielsa, Ayling kept his starting place across two promotion-chasing seasons, and registered eight goal contributions on the Whites’ journey to securing Premier League status in 2020.

Having adapted well to life in the top flight, Ayling scored his first Premier League goal on the opening day of the 2021/2022 season in the Whites’ 5-1 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

After picking up a knee injury during Leeds’ 1-1 draw with Newcastle United in September, Ayling missed nine league games before marking an assist on his return to action against Brentford earlier this month.

Leeds United's Luke Ayling. Pic: Jan Kruger.

Following his two-hundredth appearance in Whites’ 3-2 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, Ayling shared with BBC Radio Leeds what playing for the club means to him.

“I’m so proud that I've managed to even play one game for this club,” Ayling said.

“When I first signed, I couldn't believe I was signing for Leeds United.

“It seems ages ago since I signed, since my debut, and there’s been some really good moments since then."

Luke Ayling scores in Leeds United's 2-0 win over Huddersfield in March 2020. Pic: George Wood.

“To now have played 200 games and to play for Leeds in the Premier League, and I’ve been lucky enough to have captained them a couple of times in the Prem... I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved here.

“I’m going to keep pushing to try and achieve more, and see where it can take us.”

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Luke Ayling battles Mason Mount during Leeds United's 3-2 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Pic: Mike Hewitt.