Preston North End’s 2021 player of the year and player’s player of the year Ryan Ledson has spoken about his pride in collecting the trophies.
The Lilywhites’ No.18 collected his two awards from skipper Alan Browne and interim head coach Frankie McAvoy at the club’s Euxton training ground and afterwards he spoke to iFollow PNE about the successes.
“It is good to get the recognition both from the fans and from your team-mates,” said the 23-year-old. “Getting it off the lads is special, because they see you every day in training, as well as playing alongside you, so I am really proud to win both awards, it is a big honour for me.
“This year has been a big step forward in my Preston North End career. The first two seasons I didn’t play as much as I would have liked; I had to bide my time, there were lads ahead of me who have now moved on and Gally has moved up to the coaching staff.
“I thought it was my chance this year to step up and play some games and do well, and with the awards, I have done that.”
Ryan says that going into this season, he felt he had an opportunity to show what he was about: “I probably had a point to prove, because you get written off and there are talks that you can’t do it at this level or whatever, but I think I have answered the questions and hopefully I can carry on for many more years,” he continued, as well as discussing his progression that lead to captaincy in some recent games.
“Wearing the armband was a proud moment. Alan, DJ and Greg weren’t involved, but it was a special moment for me.
“I am a loud character, but I just say it how it is and just try and give my all in every training session and every game and if you do that, you have half a chance. We have got a great group of lads in that dressing room and if I can be a leader in there, I am happy to do it.”
The only disappointment for the former Everton man, was not being able to collect his trophies in front of the fans at Deepdale: “That is probably the only downside, but it is for good reason.
“We look forward to having them back next year and hopefully we can have a good season next year. We need to improve the home form; away we were brilliant, but to get the fans back at Deepdale, it will be big for us.
“I feel there is more to come next year when the fans are back. Playing a lot of reserve team football, when I was younger, I feel like I can get myself up for games. If you can’t get yourself up for a game when the crowds are in, then you shouldn’t play. This season has been a difficult one, but we have finished it really strongly and with one game to go, let’s hope we can finish positively.”
Going into the final weekend of the 2020/21 season, Ryan wants a momentum building positive result, to take away into the summer months.
“We want to try and finish as high as we can and most importantly, we want to do it for Frankie, because he has worked so hard. He has brought great energy into the building; we have enjoyed it and with Gally going into the coaching staff, we are a real close-knit group and we are looking for more positives.
“I loved [Alex Neil] and what he did for me here and I was gutted to see him go, but life goes on and Frankie took it and he has done an unbelievable job. We are second in the form table and that shows what a good job he has done.
“The aim is to finish the season as strongly as we can and then take that into next season, where we have to start strongly,” he added.
This weekend the season concludes with Jonathan Breeze being joined by former North End striker Brett Ormerod for full match coverage of this 12.30pm kick-off on Saturday lunchtime. Click here to sign up for an iFollow PNE match pass for £10.