Leeds United right-back Luke Ayling has committed his long-term future to the club by signing a new four-year contract.
The popular defender has tied himself to Elland Road until 2021 after finalising discussions over an improved deal.
Ayling had just under two years remaining on the contract he signed when he joined Leeds from Bristol City last year but his consistent form over 58 appearances has earned him a lengthy extension.
United made a concerted point of handing new contracts to several of their prominent first-team players over the summer, including Liam Cooper, Stuart Dallas, Gaetano Berardi and Eunan O’Kane, and Ayling was the one remaining senior footballer whose deal required attention.
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The 26-year-old, whose extension comes ahead of a meeting with Bristol City at Ashton Gate on Saturday, has made a major impression at Elland Road with effective box-to-box performances at right-back.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference yesterday, City manager Lee Johnson, who sold Ayling for a six-figure fee last August, conceded that he had sacrificed a good player by agreeing to let him leave.
“Luke’s done very well at every club he’s been at and he’ll get a very warm reception I’m sure,” Johnson said.
“At the time we felt it was the right decision (to sell him). We’ve been judged and found wanting by a few on that one, and probably wouldn’t argue. But there are always circumstances that go into a sale.
“Luke got a good deal at a big club and it was something we couldn’t compete with financially. He went with our best wishes and everybody was happy.”