WILL Vaulks became Oxford United’s first signing of the summer transfer window when he joined from Sheffield Wednesday.

The 30-year-old was offered a new contract by the Owls, after being named the supporters’ player of the year in the 2023/24 campaign.

We spoke to the Sheffield Star’s Alex Miller to get the lowdown on Vaulks.

READ ALSO: What will new signing Will Vaulks add to Oxford United?

What kind of midfielder is Vaulks? What are his main qualities and strengths?

Vaulks has been described by some as a midfield battler. It’s a fair description in many ways given his huge abilities to break up play and the personality he shows on the pitch, but it shouldn’t take away from his passing range, which can go harshly overlooked.

He’s all-action, shirks nothing and I have no doubt he’ll become a very popular player with Oxford fans. He’s a leader and very vocal in the middle of the park. Watch out for his long throw, which was written into Wednesday folklore in the Miracle of Hillsborough play-off comeback.

What’s the midfield position/ formation that gets the best out of him?

He’s a born six, to use modern parlance. Against teams with lots of running around him, he’s once or twice been shown to not be the most mobile in the division, but he more often than not makes up for that in his reading of the game and his work rate.

At Wednesday, he played both in a midfield two and a three. On balance, his best form I think came in the latter. His partnership with Barry Bannan and George Byers in the League One promotion season was immense, Vaulks doing the dirty work for those two to open things up.

Why do you think he turned down a new deal from Sheffield Wednesday? Security of a longer contract?

A longer deal seems to be a big factor in Vaulks’ decision, and with it the fact Oxford just seemed to push that bit harder for him.

Wednesday are in transition this summer with lots of ins and outs expected, and there have been suggestions of a move towards a different style of play and sadly it seems he wasn’t made to feel a central part of that.

The understanding is that a three-year deal was certainly never a consideration and that the Owls were offering something much shorter.

He’s a proud guy, and has every right to be given what he’s achieved in his career, and will no doubt want to go somewhere he can influence things and be made to feel like a senior man. For whatever reason, it seems he wasn’t getting that feeling at S6.

How important has he been for the Owls in the last couple of seasons?

Hugely. By his own admission, he started a bit slowly when making the drop from Cardiff into League One with Wednesday, but his performances in that season were snarling.

He was dropped in and out of the side early doors last time out, both under Xisco and then Danny Rohl, but battled his way back in and became a really important figure as they pulled off a Great Escape.

It was evidenced by the fact supporters voted him the Owls’ player of the year. He’s a huge personality off the field, both in terms of dressing room morale and in moments his team need to get their act together. Oxford have signed a good one.