‘I’ve got no ties’ – Leeds United man in focused mood ahead of Arsenal visit

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Leeds United right-back Luke Ayling is set to face Arsenal for the first time in the league this weekend when the Gunners visit Elland Road on Sunday.

The Whites caught the eye under Marcelo Bielsa during his first and second seasons in charge when they took the Championship by storm, clinching the league title in the latter.

Along the way, they caused a stir against Premier League side Arsenal in the FA Cup at the Emirates when we took the game to the Gunners and looked the better side for large portions of the game.

It wasn’t to be that night as Reiss Nelson bundled home the game’s only goal and sent the hosts through to the fourth round.

10 months later and the two sides now occupy the same division as Leeds clinched promotion after 16 years away, with one of the most iconic moments of that title charge coming from the right boot of former Arsenal man, Luke Ayling.

His stunning volley against Huddersfield will love long in the memory and he’s come an awful long way since he pulled on the Arsenal shirt in their youth team, only to make the bench once in a Champions League group game back in 2009.

He’s become a vital member of the starting 11 at Elland Road and will be keen to help his current side claim a positive result at home after two defeats.

Speaking to LUTV, Ayling looked to the game with relatively neutral focus as he prepares to face his first employers. He stated: “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.

“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.”

It’ll be a nice moment for Ayling to come up against Arsenal knowing he’s got to the point that his former club never believed he would.

It’s good for us that his focus is 100% on getting the result for Leeds, rather than worrying about playing his old club.

He’s had to get to the Premier League the hard way in his career but the work he’s put in to get to this point has stood him in good stead.

A vital part of the team, Ayling and Stuart Dallas has shown just how key full-backs are to the modern game.

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Leeds United season ticket holder since 2013/14, currently situated in the middle of the FA5 noise. From Pablo Hernandez to 5-1 drubbings, I've seen it all at Elland Road.