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‘Why am I scared?’ – Leeds’ Luke Ayling makes fans aware of his speech problem

Leeds’ Luke Ayling makes fans aware of his speech problem after some supporters watching him picks up on the way he speaks in interview.

The Premier League defender used to “shy away” from speaking with reporters and the media before and after matches because of his stammer.

But now, he is throwing himself into them in order to find his own voice, to try and not feel so embarrassed, potentially use his problem to help others.

In a one minute clip uploaded by BBC Sport, he said: “When I first came to Leeds I wasn’t comfortable at all, doing interviews and I’ve kind of got to a point now where I don’t care like if I do an interview and I have a stutter or I see a lot of things online when people say I say ‘then’ and ‘like’ a lot.

“But that’s my safety blanket kind of thing because I know I can get those words out and I see a lot of people who don’t know I’ve got a stutter say ‘all I hear is then and like’.

“But I just got to a point where I just thought do you know what? I’m doing an interview with somebody who wants to speak to me and actually wants to hear what I’ve got to say so why am I scared to do it? Because I shied away for so long from doing it.

But I will still go to a drive thru and I’ll be sat in the driver’s seat and I’ll still make my missus order it, because I don’t wanna do it, so I still have those insecurities and obviously it’s horrible because I sit here and I’ve got loads of things that I wanna say but I know I can’t get them out so then I just ramble on and then that’s probably why I’m quite loud in the dressing room and just don’t care because I just say what I feel.

You can watch the full interview via MOTDx, which are on Thursdays, 22:45 BST on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer.

Despite shying away from past interviews due to a stammer, Ayling had told members of Leedsโ€™ media department: โ€œIf thereโ€™s post-match press to be done, Iโ€™m fucking doing it.โ€

What is stammering?

Stammering is when:

  • you repeat sounds or syllables โ€“ for example, saying “mu-mu-mu-mummy”
  • you make sounds longer โ€“ for example, “mmmmmmummy”
  • a word gets stuck or does not come out at all

Stammering varies in severity for different people, and from situation to situation. Someone might have periods of stammering followed by times when they speak relatively fluently.

It comes weeks after viewers picked up on much loved pundit Chris Kamara struggling to speak during his match reporting at Rotherham a few weeks back.

‘Kammy’ has since opened up on his battle with apraxia after confirming he is suffering from the speaking condition.

During an appearance on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, he said: ‘It was incredible. Today is a good day. Today I think I’m fine, I don’t know how I sound. But it seems as if I’m ok.

‘But on Saturday I was doing a report for Sky at Rotherham and unbeknown to me, because I’m not really sure about how it comes out, because if I explain my apraxia, we take for granted the fact that when we think and coming through our speech it’s comfortable, it’s easy, it’s natural.

‘My apraxia, because it varies in different people, when it’s bad it stops those signals from that brain going to that mouth, so it slows it down.

‘In fact, at times it slurs the words as well. So people are looking and thinking, ‘Is he alright? Is he drunk?’

Read more on that interview HERE.

Twitter users reacted as Leeds’ Luke Ayling makes fans aware of his speech problem…

@LSdadbod1980: Top man we fucking love you Bill @lukeayling_8

@Restinklichface: The courage he shows is why he’s such a good leader and so respected ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘Š

@Manchester_Man: ๐Ÿ‘ more of this please – humanising players is the only way to try and move forward from some of the abhorrent abuse and ridicule aimed at them by โ€œfansโ€ who believe it is their right to abuse them.

@heppelltron: Your interviews are always a breath of fresh air. Love you Bill #MOT

@Robertkas88: Stood up recently on the field when we needed you and showed you have some massive balls!! You will always do for me!! Always thought your interviews over the years were okay nothing to worry about MOT ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป

@BarneyLUFC21: An absolute gem of a man what you see is what you get. A lot of people can take heart from this.

@marekregan: I think itโ€™s brilliant heโ€™s found his voice well done Luke an inspiration to thousands no doubt. Keep it up fella – good pro always gives 100% when I see him play ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

@petietwtie: Very hard to watch a person with a stammer. My brother has one, but over the years it got better. On a side note, Ayling is a proper footballer. Fair play.

Best top knot in the game
Best celebrations in the game
Best Bill in the game
What a hero

@DanielGleeds: Absolutely love @lukeayling_8 had a right laugh with him outside Elland Road years ago top top bloke

@CrambazzledTask: Such a great guy. Blessed to have him at our club.

@SteveSwift3: I’d never even considered him having a stutter / stammer as I thought he was just searching for the right words. He comes across well in interviews because he is genuine. We are lucky to have him

@BeestonWhites: Hes a top man. One of the main reasons we got back to the PL. Him, Cooper and Dallas are now the old guard at Leeds and so important to the squad. They set an example to the rest. They’d run through brick walls for Leeds.

@mickfletcher1: Am I the only person who never even noticed he had a stammer till it started getting mentioned? He always gives honest and passionate interviews and doesn’t just trot out clichรฉd rubbish like many do

@Josh_T95: What a guy, massive pair of bollocks on him, not just for the interviews but fit the way he’s pulled us through when we most needed someone to step up. Whenever the time comes for him to go, he’ll go down as a legend here

@BfcDale: What an absolute top bloke. Should be an inspiration to thousands/ millions of people. ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’›

@tedatkinson: One of the nicest blokes you could ever meet.

@Raj_Fox_2016: Respect @lukeayling_8. As a fellow stammerer I find this an inspiration! ๐Ÿ‘Š๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฝ

@F1Bucko: Love this, good on you Luke. I’m sure there will be a lot of kids and adults with stammers that can take comfort from this.

@SnowAndBeach: Fantastic to see @lukeayling_8 speak out on the difficulties of living with a #stammer. Representation is important to show others that we can all live in society together no matter what the obstacle.
#LukeAyling #LUFC

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