Michael Carrick's telling Luke Ayling debut assessment as Leeds United man makes 'big impact'

Luke Ayling in action at Millwall on his Middlesbrough debutLuke Ayling in action at Millwall on his Middlesbrough debut
Luke Ayling in action at Millwall on his Middlesbrough debut
Luke Ayling made his debut for Middlesbrough on Saturday after leaving Leeds United

Leeds United loanee Luke Ayling made a 'big impact' on his debut for Middlesbrough on Saturday afternoon, Michael Carrick believes. Despite joining Boro just three days before the club's trip to Millwall this weekend, Ayling was thrown straight into the club's starting XI at The Den.

Starting at right-back, the former Leeds vice-captain played the full 90 minutes for the Teesside outfit as they managed to underline their top six Championship credentials by coming from behind to record an impressive 3-1 win in south London. Lukas Engel, who was assisted by Leeds man Sam Greenwood, Isaiah Jones and Marcus Forss got the goals for Boro on the day.

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But, it was debutants Ayling and Finn Azaz, signed from Aston Villa, who Carrick could be heard speaking about after the contest, with Ayling's experience and nous playing a crucial role in the result.

"Two important players, two good players," Carrick told the club website. "It an wasn't an easy game, Millwall are a really good team and they're on a good run at the moment, you could see that.

"It was a quick start but we got into the game and Finn started to get on the ball and created a couple of opportunities and looking like there was moments there.

"I thought Luke's experience, he really managed the game well and played a couple of little different positions that we tweaked and changed as the game went on. He had a big impact on the game from his experience point of view and calmness."

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Ayling struggled for game time under Daniel Farke at Elland Road, with his last league appearance for the club coming in November, two months before his eventual departure. However, he'll be keen to build up momentum in the Championship with Boro and he could make his home debut next weekend when Carrick's side face Rotherham United at the Riverside Stadium.

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