Tak­ing the reins

Derbyshire Life - - Wildlife - WORDS: Nigel Powl­son

Derby County favourite Jake Bux­ton on his Rams ca­reer and a move into man­age­ment

home and away in the play-off semis, and although we were a bit edgy at the start at Wem­b­ley, we grew into it and dom­i­nated the game, only to con­cede a crazy goal right at the end.’

Jake still re­gards it as one of his most mem­o­rable games in a Rams shirt de­spite the cruel end.

‘It was still a proud mo­ment to play at Wem­b­ley and for my fam­ily to come and watch. Not be­ing an in­ter­na­tional player, I got the op­por­tu­nity to sing the Na­tional An­them at Wem­b­ley in front of my dad and that was an amaz­ing feel­ing. It was a great day spoilt by those cou­ple of min­utes at the end.’

Derby County have been knock­ing on the door of the Premier League con­sis­tently but haven’t found a way back since rel­e­ga­tion 12 years ago.

‘The clos­est point was when Nigel Clough had built a squad over a three or four-year pe­riod and we had great team spirit and to­geth­er­ness and were knock­ing the ball about bril­liantly,’ Jake adds. ‘Steve McClaren came in and took us as close as any Derby team has come in over ten years.

‘We were all sim­i­lar sorts of play­ers, sim­i­larly paid, and very much a unit and that’s what Nigel had achieved, and Steve got a chance to build on that.’

Jake got the op­por­tu­nity to play for the Rams in 2009 af­ter fol­low­ing man­ager Nigel Clough from Bur­ton Al­bion to Pride Park; the lat­ter hav­ing capped ten years at the Brew­ers by guid­ing them to the brink of pro­mo­tion to the Foot­ball League when he was of­fered the Derby job.

And Jake had just en­joyed an out­stand­ing cam­paign, be­ing named Player of the Sea­son in the process, but ad­mits it was still a sur­prise that he

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