Luke Ayling reveals how Bielsa has extended his career, raised his game

Leeds defender Luke Ayling has credited Marcelo Bielsa for improving his game so much – and also reckons the United boss has added another few years onto his career as a professional footballer.

The 28-year-old defender has been one of the Whites’ most consistent performers this season, performing superbly well as either an ordodox right-back or on the right-side of a three-man back three.

The former Bristol City has racked up 29 appearances for Bielsa’s side this season – his season started belately after he was forced to undergo surgery on an ankle problem in the summer – and had also added a serious goal threat to his game in recent matches by notching three times in his last five outings for Leeds prior to the global shutdown of the game.

Ayling, however, continues to work hard on his fitness and is keen to pick up where Leeds left off when the season eventually resumes, as Bielsa’s side look to secure promotion to the Premier League following a 16-year absence.

The table-toppers are seven points clear of third-placed Fulham with just nine matches remaining and Ayling, speaking to Sky Sports in their ‘At Home with Leeds United’ feature, said of his manager’s influence: “Still now we are weighing in every morning and we have all got to take a picture and send it in to the fitness coach every morning and stuff like that.

“It’s a complete change of life that I have had.

“I was fit before he came in and I thought I could do a lot but I have just taken it to the next level now.

“I feel I can do a lot more and I think maybe I can play on for a few more years which maybe I couldn’t have before I was managed by him. It’s a whole life change.

“I feel fitter than ever and I know I can go for the full 90 minutes and I think it shows how much I get in the attacking third now and still fresh late on.


“I’m scoring a few goals and it’s down to everything we do in training and how he gets his point across and us boys know what we do in training every day now so there’s not as much talking.

“We go out and we get our work down and it’s short sharp blasts but then we are out there for a long time but it’s short sharp blasts and we are working at a high intensity and I think that shows.”

Former Leeds star Noel Whelan, meanwhile, has handed the club a list of two strikers to target should the club secure promotion to the Premier League.