THE ambition Oxford United showed was a key factor in Will Vaulks signing for the club.

Vaulks was offered a new deal by Sheffield Wednesday having starred for the Owls in Sky Bet Championship this season.

He won the supporters’ player of the year award, but with his contract expiring, the U’s stepped in to steal his signature.

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The 30-year-old midfielder told this newspaper: “I was so impressed by the plan that the club has, and I wanted to be a part of that, so if I was going to move down to Oxford and commit to the football club, and likewise the club could commit to me, then both parties felt right that it was longer term.

“The club’s going in the right direction, and I want to be a part of it, and the club wants me to help them go in the right direction.

“At my age, I wanted to have a club that I could feel settled at, and not be moving every year.

“It’s about my family as well. I don’t want my family to be moving all the time. I want to go and commit to playing for a club.”

On his Owls exit, Vaulks said: “I connected with the fans, and I think they saw me give everything to try and keep Wednesday in the league.

“Sometimes these things have to end at some point, but if you don’t feel the ambition is matched to what Oxford were showing, and the way they want to go forward, then we shake hands and move on, and that’s what we’ve done.

“I’ve had a great two years, and I’m looking forward to the next few years at Oxford, where I’ll hopefully have success here.”

Asked where United should be aiming as they prepare for their first season in the second tier for 25 years, Vaulks said: “I’m not a massive fan of targets like that, but all the right things are being done. That was a big part of my talks with Ed [Waldron, head of recruitment] and the manager.

“The squad needs some players in, I think that’s evident, but they’re really busy. I know that through dealing with them. They’re definitely getting things done, which is a breath of fresh air and really good to see.

“I’m sure that group that got success last year needs to stay and be a part of what’s going forward because you have success as a team and you deserve to have a go at the league above.

“As far as targets are involved, I wouldn’t like to say. I’ve not even spent a minute with the team yet, but I know when you go up to the league above and if you just say ‘we want to survive’, you’re setting that mindset from day one.

“I know that’s not the mindset that the manager wants, it’s a mindset of having a good crack at this league, and try to take as many points as we can. That’s what you have to do, and then you get the football club moving in the right direction.”