ONE of Oxford United’s best signings this summer could prove to be in the technical area, according to Ryan Ledson.

The midfielder departed the U’s for Preston North End in May, but believes the squad he has left will benefit greatly from the arrival of Shaun Derry as first team coach.

The 40-year-old was Cambridge United manager in 2015 when he signed Ledson on loan.

It proved a big moment in the Scouser’s career – and he is clear where the credit lies.

He said: “I was going through a bit of a rough time at Everton when I was 18 and Shaun made me love football again, I’d say.

“I went there as a kid and I felt like I came back as a man. From there I went to Oxford.

“I honestly can’t speak highly enough of him.

“Look at how many games he played, including the top level.

“He was brilliant for me, he taught me what the Football League was all about.”

Ledson, who had made just one senior competitive appearance for Everton, started 28 games for Cambridge, catching the eye of then U’s boss Michael Appleton.

As a fellow midfielder, Derry made a big impact on the England youth international.

But Ledson believes the new coach’s long career in the top two divisions will resonate with the whole U’s squad, who start pre-season tomorrow at Abingdon School.

They will be put through their paces over two days, including the dreaded VO2 max test which assesses the maximum amount of oxygen a player can consume.

Ledson added: “Shaun’s an unbelievable signing.

“He’s a top fella and was brilliant for me, probably one of the most influential people on my career.

“He says it how it is, which I always like. He’ll still think he can join in training and I think he could, by the way.

“I think he’ll be good for everyone, even the older pros.

“He’s played in the Premier League (for Crystal Palace and QPR), so everyone will know who he is and I’m sure on the first day they’ll know what he’s about straight away.

“I think in everything he does he brings loads of energy.

“You just wanted to go into work every day and you knew you were going to be happy.

“I went in with a smile on my face, he made me fall back in love with the game.”

Derry completes a first-team coaching set-up with boss Karl Robinson and assistant head coach Derek Fazackerley.

Ledson said: “I think it’s a great top three – I can’t speak highly enough of the staff at Oxford, they’re brilliant.

“But I don’t think you’d want to get on the wrong side of them on the touchline. The fourth official will be getting an earful.”