Normally, Luke Ayling would be right in the thick of the celebrations. But speaking to BBC Radio Leeds, Ayling said he did not celebrate with the rest of his team after Crysencio Summerville scored at Anfield, in order to keep a clear head.
Summerville scored a day before his 21st birthday, ending a two-month wait to win a match. The pressure among the players, on Jesse Marsch’s face and the away end at Anfield was telling. It has been hard to be a Leeds fan of late.
So, you would hardly blame Ayling if for a split-second he had lost composure for a split second. About to come on for the final few months of our 2-1 win over Liverpool, he was dressed and ready when Summerville flicked in an effort.
Que pandemonium in the away end. Summerville threw his shirt in the air, players chased after the pocket-sized Dutchman – as did substitutes and coaches. But Ayling stayed still, telling BBCRL that he needed a clear head.
“It was quite a weird thing, I was dressed, ready to come on. Cree scored, the team ran and celebrated. But I took myself away. I knew I had a job to do. I had to keep a clear head. I stood on half-way watching everyone celebrate.”
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Ayling did not celebrate with Leeds team after Summerville scored
Another example why 31-year-old Ayling is absolutely crucial to keep at Leeds. Yes, Rasmus Kristensen might have just established himself as the club’s first-choice right-back with his display at Anfield. But Ayling is a leader.
He is a player all the young lads will learn from and this is the best example. It would have been easy to let emotion get the better of you. We were away at Anfield, against one of the world’s best teams. Two months without a win.
But Ayling kept his cool. He remained focused and came on and made some important interventions before the full-time whistle. If the young lads did not notice Ayling staying on half-way, they should. A player they can learn from.