Shaun Barker: Former Derby defender shocked by testimonial

Barker honoured by Rams recognition

Ex-Derby County defender Shaun Barker says it an honour and a privilege to be granted a testimonial.

The 33-year former Rams captain was released by the club last summer after an injury-plagued six years but was a hugely popular figure with supporters.

Barker, who is hoping to return to professional football soon, told BBC East Midlands Today: "To say I am taken back by this is an understatement.

"It will be an honour and a privilege to play for Derby one more time."

Barker, who was signed by former Derby boss Nigel Clough in July 2009 and was key figure in the first two seasons, will have a testimonial game - one of a number of events held in 2016.external-link

But after battling a number of injuries, a career-threatening knee problem he suffered in March 2012 meant Barker never played for the first team again.

Barker's road to recovery
April 2011: Has knee surgery after Derby secure Championship survival
July 2011: Suffers setback meaning he misses the start of 2011-12 season
March 2012: Dislocates kneecap, ruptures ligaments and is ruled out for a year
November 2013: Begins light training and has rehab in United States
January 2015: Returns to first-team training
February 2015: Plays competitive match for Derby's Under-21s side

"It was six years, but it was a such a diverse six years," Barker added.

"I was club captain for four years but coming back from my latest injury was a three-year process time was extremely tough.

"The fans were remarkable throughout. To still be interested three years after my last injury is quite something.

"I never really got the chance to say thank you and goodbye. I am still in Derby and come to the games but this is kind of a fond farewell."