Ryan Ledson was spotted by the Everton Academy at the young age of just 5 years old and would spend 14 years rising through the club's youth system while also earning his stripes at
international level with England from under-16 to under-19 level during his time with the Blues.
He made his first appearance on the Everton senior bench as a substitute for
the Premier League game at Southampton in April 2014 but would not get another look-in at first-team level until November of the following
season. In May 2014, he played a pivotal role in the England squad
that won the 2014 Uefa European Under-17 Championship, captaining the team
in the process and also being named in Uefa's Team of the Tournament.
He was rewarded for his impressive progress in the club’s Barclays
Under-21 Premier League side by signing a three-year professional
contract on his 17th birthday in August 2014.
"I’m delighted," said
Ledson. "I’ve been here since I was a young kid and this is what you
strive towards. The day has finally come, so I’m made up. For me, it's
been 12 years of hard work at Everton Football Club to get to this day,
but there is no better place to be and I’m absolutely over the moon. Now
I just want to keep playing well for the Under-21s and then hopefully an
opportunity will come around again with the first team in the future."
Ryan Ledson got that opportunity in his senior debut against FK
Krasnodar in the Europa League dead rubber that wrapped up Group H in
December 2014, and he put in an encouraging performance in the centre of
midfield. It wasn't enough to propel him into first team reckoning longer term, however, and he continued his developement as a virtual ever-present back in the U21s.
In November 2015, he joined League Two side Cambridge until
the New Year, a move that was so successful for both sides, it was
extended through to the end of the season, with Ledson a driving force
on their push to make the play-off places. And a ringing
endorsement from the Cambridge manager, Shaun Derry:
(Everton) got him as their player and we’re only borrowing him, but he’s
been a good player for us, he really has. He’s been a huge player for
us, not just on the football field but in the training environment and
in the community as well.
"He’s really embraced what Cambridge United is
all about and he’s become one of our own, really, and that’s great when
you’re talking about loan players coming from a huge football club. His
performances have been at such a level that I think he wants to stay
here as well. He’s enjoying playing for us."
Ledson was one of three young Everton players to be selected for the
England U19 European Championships in Germany but he would play no part
in Ronald Koeman's pre-season preparations for the senior side in his
first season at the helm and he was sold to League One Oxford United in August 2016 for an undisclosed fee.
Ledson had a good spell with Oxford United and was snapped up by
Preston NE as the 2017-18 season ended, with the Lillywhites just
missing out on a place in the Championship playoffs.
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