Luke Ayling has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water and the Leeds United defender is showing he is among Europe’s elite in one key statistic.
According to stats by Wyscout Ayling has a 74.47% dribble accuracy in the Premier League this season which ranks him as the fifth most successful dribbler in Europe’s top five leagues.
That is a quite remarkable feat especially considering the make-up of the rest of the top 10.
The only other defender to feature is Sevilla star Jesus Navas and he is a World Cup winner who is naturally a winger so one would expect his numbers to remain high.
Ayling, on the other hand, is a natural defender and has even shifted across to central defence to cover a spate of injuries to the Whites backline this season.
That makes the feat even more impressive and the only competition to his dribbling throne in the Premier League is Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi who top scores with an 80% completion but this is made in less than half of the minutes played by Ayling and one would expect his figures to drop off somewhat with more game time.
Ayling has completed 34 successful dribbles at an average of 2.03 per 90.
He averaged slightly more in last season’s Championship-winning campaign (2.25) but with a much lower success rate of 58.1%.
This underlines his credentials as a solidified Premier League player and further exemplifies the sterling work done by manager Marcelo Bielsa and his coaching staff to drill such excellence into a side that is largely used to plying their trade in the second-tier of English football.
Bielsa has helped mastermind Leeds to 10th in the Premier League table after 22 games following Monday night’s 2-0 win over Crystal Palace that saw them leapfrog Arsenal.
With less than half the season to go the Whites have made a mockery of their new-boys tag and now have a genuine chance of finishing in the top half ahead of an established side like the Gunners.
We can be sure to see Ayling leading that charge in the only way he knows how – with his relentless running and supreme talents on the ball surging the Whites up the field.
In other Leeds United news, see our exclusive interview with Paul Robinson on what the club must learn from last summer’s Ben White saga.