Derby captain says Chelsea match 'highlight of my career'

Derby County Huddle

Former Burton Albion defender Jake Buxton is set to lead Derby County out against Chelsea in the FA Cup on Sunday, noting it as the highlight of his career.

When former Derby manager Nigel Clough signed Buxton from Burton Albion in 2009 on a one year deal, there was certainly eyebrows raised from club supporters.

The only Football League experience the defender had was being part of the side that saw Mansfield Town relegated from the Football League in 2008. After that, he made a move that saw him team up with Clough at Burton Albion and, despite only being part-time, the Brewers quickly became serious contenders for promotion to the Football League. Clough soon left Burton for Derby, and the next summer brought Buxton with him to the club.

In the early days of his Derby County career, however, Buxton looked off-the-pace, and although he put his body, heart and soul on the line, he was often found to be second best.

But the player continued to work hard and got better with each day, eventually earned himself an extra year on his contract. After that, there was no looking back, as Buxton improved year on year, proving more doubters wrong and becoming increasingly important to the team.

These days, Buxton is statistically one of the best defenders in the division, with his distribution seeing his biggest improvement. He has become one of the most accurate ball playing centre backs in the league, and his 60 yard pin-point balls to the wingers have become a regular feature for Derby County.

So, when asked how he felt on leading out the Derby County team against Chelsea, Buxton said: 'It will be the highlight of my career if I get to wear the armband and lead the lads out against Chelsea in the Cup. I will probably have to pinch myself'.

When he takes to the field on Sunday, Buxton is likely to be up against a striker that was top of the world when he endured relegation from the Football League - Chelsea's Fernando Torres, who probably wishes it still was 2008!.

Image: © eamoncurry

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