Luke Ayling on his move to Leeds United from Bristol City and Marcelo Bielsa's impact

Luke Ayling is becoming a fans' favourite at Elland Road
Leeds United full-back Luke Ayling. (Image: Bruce Rollinson)Leeds United full-back Luke Ayling. (Image: Bruce Rollinson)
Leeds United full-back Luke Ayling. (Image: Bruce Rollinson)

Leeds United full-back Luke Ayling has opened up on his move to Elland Road from Bristol City and hailed the impact of Marcelo Bielsa on his career.

The Whites bagged Ayling for a nominal fee of £250,000 nearly four years ago in the summer of 2016 which has since been seen as a stunning piece of transfer business.

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Ayling has made 145 appearances for the club in all competitions since his arrival, becoming one of the most consistent performers under Bielsa in West Yorkshire over the past two seasons.

His form this term has seen him earn plaudits while a stunning goal against Huddersfield Town has entered him into the race for the Goal of the Season award.

The Arsenal academy product, though, has now told the story of his move from Ashton Gate to LS11, revealing that he never believed growing up he would play for a team such as the Whites.

“I grew up when they (Leeds United) were in the Premiership and playing Champions League football,” he said.

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“I never thought I would get an opportunity to play for Leeds. Things weren’t right for me at Bristol City, I was probably second or third choice.

“I knew I could play there but other people thought I couldn’t and thought I wasn’t good enough to play right-back in the Championship.

“When Leeds came in and said they were interested I was over the moon.

“I called Kyle Bartley who was here at the time. I was buzzing, I was out with the missus shopping and got a call from my agent to say come down to Heathrow to sign the papers and go up there tomorrow.

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“I stopped shopping, went to sign the papers and then it all happened in very quick time.”

Asked about the impact Bielsa has had on his own game, he added: “It’s changed the way I live, my personal life, the food I eat and how fit I am now.

“The way I play I feel like I get forward a lot more, I’m more confident doing it.

“In the past I’ve got forward but never really thought I could assist or score goals but now I get involved, I know I can help the forward-thinking players.

“He’s changed it massively, given me a few more years on my career with the way I live now and do my gym work.”