Championship

Profit Players: Luke Ayling

Profit Players: Luke Ayling

Leeds United supporters have been making a lot of noise in recent times after seeing their side return to the top of the Championship at the weekend.

Marcelo Bielsa’s men went into their meeting with Wigan Athletic on Sunday having dropped to second in the table following Sheffield United’s victory over Paul Cook’s Latics, with the Whites themselves only mustering a 1-1 draw at home with Nottingham Forest. Yet the Yorkshire giants returned to the summit at the weekend as goals from Pablo Hernandez and Kemar Roofe inspired Bielsa’s side to a 2-1 success at the DW Stadium, seeing Leeds take advantage of Sheffield United’s defeat at Forest to head the division once again.

As such, there have been many thrilled Leeds fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are thoroughly enjoying Bielsa’s time in charge of the club, and indeed the tenure of owner Andrea Radrizzani, who has brought stability to the Whites following a very turbulent time under Massimo Cellino.

And while there were very few bright moments from Cellino’s time in charge of the Yorkshire heavyweights, the addition of defender Luke Ayling has certainly proven to be a masterstroke in providing current boss Bielsa with a Leeds mainstay.

The 27-year-old made the move to Elland Road back in 2016 from Bristol City for just £783,000 (as per Transfermarkt), having enjoyed a fine season at Ashton Gate the campaign before to underline his credentials in the second tier.

And the defender has since taken that to another level during his time at Leeds, with Ayling appearing 89 times in all competitions for the Whites, 42 of which coming in his first season at the club in their run to seventh place under Garry Monk.

That season in particular saw the Englishman produce consistently high-level performances at right back in their play-off challenge, and while ankle surgery disrupted his 2017/18 season, eventually finishing the campaign with just 27 league appearances to his name, he has since proven his worth once again under new manager Bielsa.

Ayling, who has also excelled at centre back during his time at Leeds to underline his versatility, missed just one of their opening 15 Championship matches prior to suffering a knee injury against Forest last month, while the fact he has twice captained the Whites this term underlines the high regard he is held in by manager Bielsa.

And while his recent injury setback looks set to keep him out for some time, with two months on the sidelines being reported, there is no doubting that the 27-year-old has proven to be an excellent addition at Elland Road, and very much an uncommon masterstroke pulled off by former owner Cellino – one that has certainly equipped Bielsa with a Leeds mainstay.

Leeds fans… what do you think? Let us know!

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