Leeds United right-back Luke Ayling said “it will be nice” to face Arsenal next weekend, 10 years after leaving the club.
Ayling came through the academy in North London before leaving for Yeovil Town in 2010 and working his way back up to the Premier League from there.
An ever-present so far this season, the 29-year-old has played at right-back and centre-back and he is looking forward to facing his old club.
“I spent a lot of time there as a kid, but I was only a kid then and I never really played or trained with the first team,” Ayling told LUTV.
“I don’t know anyone there and I’ve got no ties there, so for me it is just another game, but it will be nice to finally play against them in the Premier League after getting released at 18 will be nice.
“I think we can take confidence from our first half performance (in the FA Cup tie in January), but we know our second-half performance was nowhere near it, we need to play like we did in the first half for 90 minutes.”
Ayling’s journey back to the top has been an impressive climb and he has been one of Leeds most consistent performers over the last four and a half years.
Comfortable is possession and strong in the air, the former Bristol City man plays an important part in the Leeds attack and has become a very capable exponent of long passes.
Against Arsenal, Leeds have a great chance to get back on track, with the Gunners struggling to create goalscoring opportunities. According to FBRef, Arsenal have created just 9.2 expected goals this season and have not scored from open play in their last four Premier League fixtures.
Leeds meanwhile have generated 12.5 xG in the same number of games, and sit just two points adrift of Mikel Arteta’s side (via FBRef).
In other Leeds United news, View: Time for Bielsa to unleash rarely seen Leeds 23y/o – starting v Arsenal