Few players know how much it means for Leeds United to be in the Premier League as much as Luke Ayling.
The full-back has been at the club since 2016, and has endured some of the lowest ebbs in the Whites’ history during his time at Elland Road.
With that in mind, it was a delight to see him finally make his top flight bow in the thrilling 4-3 loss against Liverpool at Anfield, and he didn’t look at all out of place over the course of his first 90 minutes.
The right-back looked strong in the tackle and even more domineering on the front foot, striding forward with ease and playing a series of top quality balls – including a golden threaded delivery to Patrick Bamford in the first half that should really have led to a goal.
Challenges don’t come much bigger than facing up against Sadio Mane and Andy Robertson on your first day in the Premier League, but Ayling – wearing the captain’s armband too – looked more than equal to the task.
Perhaps that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise bearing in mind the fact that he was Whoscored’s highest rated full-back in the Championship last season, with an average score of 7.26.
To replicate that form at the top level still deserves a lot of praise, however, and on the basis of his first foray into Premier League life, the hope will be that Ayling can be just as integral to the success of Marcelo Bielsa’s side as he was in the second tier.
Here are some of the best tweets from dazzled Leeds fans:
Ayling is unbelievable, I told you all he’s class. Also bamford getting into some good positions just no service yet.
— caleb ✍️ (@caleb23lufc) September 12, 2020
— Darren Leathley (@DarrenLeathley) September 12, 2020
— Robert Giles (@Rob_E_Giles) September 12, 2020
Ayling has been phenomenal first 15 minutes. Terrifying to have to mark Mane in all that space but he's doing great so far. #LUFC
— ETHAN (@EthanFromOnline) September 12, 2020
— Through It All Together (@ThruItAllLUFC) September 12, 2020
Luke Ayling. All £250k of him. Unreal. #LUFC
— Pressed Flowers (@Richard37001633) September 12, 2020
Luke Ayling is having a banger #lufc
— 🏆 (@kaydobbo) September 12, 2020
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