Why handing Luke Ayling a new contract this week was smart

Luke Ayling of Bristol City holds off pressure from Stephen Quinn of Reading during the Sky Bet Championship match between Reading and Bristol City on January 2, 2016 in Reading, United...

Leeds United handed Luke Ayling a new contract this week ahead of the Championship match against Bristol City.

Luke Ayling and Souleymane Doukara of Leeds United congratulate each other after the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road on February 25,...

Leeds United star Luke Ayling was handed a new contract this week. As announced on the club’s official website, the 26-year-old put pen to a paper on a new four-year deal which will see him remain at Elland Road until July 2021.

Ayling is one of the best players at Leeds and has established himself as a key figure in the team under head coach Thomas Christiansen.

The versatility of the former Arsenal prospect to operate as a defender or as a defensive midfielder has only enhanced his importance.

Luke Ayling (L) of Leeds United escapes from Marlon Pack (C) and Luke Freeman (R) of Bristol City during the Sky Bet Championship match between Bristol City and Leeds United at Ashton Gate...

It is quite interesting that Leeds head coach Christiansen and Director of Football Victor Orta chose this particular week to hand Ayling a new deal.

After all, there was not really any rush to given the defender a contract - he joined the club only in the summer of 2016.

Could it be to boost the confidence of Ayling - and the rest of the team - ahead of Leeds’s trip to Bristol City today? The Whites will take on City away from home at the Ashton Gate Stadium in the Championship this afternoon.

Luke Ayling of Leeds United feels the cold during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Leeds United at Villa Park on December 29, 2016 in Birmingham, England.

City are Ayling’s former club, and Leeds need him to perform to the best of his ability in order to pick up all three points from the match.

The West Yorkshire outfit have lost their last three league fixtures and need to win to get their playoff challenge back on track.

Ayling is important to the way that Leeds player, and a new contract could boost his confidence ahead of what is going to be an interesting game for him against his former club, thereby increasing the Whites’ chances of winning and getting back on track for a playoff spot.

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