Ryan Ledson is a midfielder for Preston North End Football Club and has been represented by Pitch Representation’s Greg Wadsworth since he turned professional.
Having represented Everton, England age group sides and a number of other teams, Ryan has learnt a lot about what is involved with being a professional footballer, despite only being 21 years old.
We spoke to Ryan about his career to date, the challenges he’s faced and the support network he surrounds himself with to help him thrive.
Q. First off, thanks for joining us Ryan. Can you tell us how you first got into football and what your professional career on the field has been like to date?
A. Like most, I started off just enjoying weekend footy with my friends. At five or six I was picked up by Everton and stayed with the club for a long time, including some loans. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to play for a number of England age group sides, in League One and Two and am now enjoying myself at Preston North End in the Championship. It’s been a great journey and I’m looking forward to what’s ahead.
Q. How has the 2018-19 season started for you and what are your personal goals for the remainder of the season?
A. I’m really enjoying my footy at the moment at Preston North End. My biggest goal over the rest of the season is to get as much game time as possible and continue to improve. Locking down a spot in the starting XI is definitely a target for me.
Q. What have you learnt about the impact off-field can have on your on-field performance?
A. Obviously the more I can focus on my performance on the field the better, but to do that you have to have the right people around you. There’s a number of different parts to being a professional footballer today, so the more you’re able to channel your focus on the pitch, the better.
Playing football for a living is a privileged position to be in, but I think some of the challenges that come with it can be forgotten – whether that be having to leave home at 17 away from family and friends, going on loan spells to new teams at any moment or some of the media and public focus that can come on you at a very young age. To help offset that, you need the right support network around you.
Q. What steps have you taken to make sure that you’re in the best position both on and off the field?
A. Like I say, it’s about having the right people around you. My family and friends are great supporters of mine, but they also know how to keep my feet on the ground and make sure I stay on the right course at all times. I’ve also been with Greg, my agent, for a number of years now and he’s helped me a lot along the way. He’s always been available and had my best interest at heart, so I feel fortunate in general with the support I have around me.
Q. There are a lot of talent agencies out there – what’s the process for knowing the right one to partner with?
A. For me it is all about trust and how that is developed. I’ve known my agent, Greg, for a long time and every step of the way he’s been on hand to help with me with anything I’ve needed. You need an agent and agency which aligns with what you believe in and I feel I have that with Greg and Pitch Rep.
Q. Pitch Rep is a relatively new representation agency – was it a bit of a punt going with the new kid on the block?
A. Pitch Rep might be relatively new, but a number of people within the company have been in the industry a long time. Greg and Neale (another agent at Pitch Rep) have been around football for a long time. In saying that, I know Pitch Rep has talked to me about doing things differently and I think that’s exciting.
Thanks for your time and good luck for the rest of the season Ryan!