|Can Barker Propel The Rams To Promotion Push?|
Sat 14th May 2011 11:00 by Daniel J Sewart
When Nigel Clough announced that Shaun Barker would be his Captain for the 11/12 season, it was definitely no shock to anyone. Can the player who has regularly been compared to the great Roy McFarland, lead the Rams to glory.
It is unlikely that Shaun will ever be able to scale the great heights of McFarland but like the great man, he has the ability to lead by example and show his team the level of commitment required to succeed.
Many people might believe that Barker would have regretted his decision to leave Blackpool who went on the up and up after his departure but if this was the case; he never let it show in either actions or words.
His form after arriving at DCFC was stunning and there was much excitement as fans and pundits were happy to make the McFarland comparison. Winning the Jack Stamps trophy and nearly single handedly saving the Rams from relegation were signs the clubs million pound investment was worth every cent.
In his second campaign after an interrupted pre-season, the coaching staff had to nurse him through the matches and although we glimpsed what he was capable of, Barker did not again reach the bar he had set himself previously because of a severe knee complaint. The fact he rarely had a regular central partner all season along with the midfield regularly unfolding in front of him never helped his cause.
Despite not being able to show the form he arrived with this season, by playing through the pain barrier for much of the season he was always the obvious choice to be handed the Captains armband. He still managed 45 matches of a possible 48 and would not even contemplate going under the knife until Derby had achieved safety.
Before Barker for many years it seemed as if Miles Addison would grow into the role as he looked to be an obvious candidate for a leadership position at the club. Injury and inability to find form on his return meant this never eventuated but I hope he will find his way into both for the coming season.
If Addison can get his body and form right then he should still be considered as a leader of the future. At 22 years of age he could be the established senior player to step up for the job next and perhaps become the Tom Huddlestone that Derby should have had.
But at the moment it is all about Barker who after an end of season knee operation will miss the early games of next campaign. On his return if Shaun can give the Rams his best then he will be play a massive part in any upward movement the Rams achieve on the league table.
That may include a return to goal scoring ways that were instrumental in staving off relegation during the 09/10 season but seemingly abandoned his game this campaign.
Nigel Clough spoke to the official site regarding his new Captain and believes he could stamp his name in Rams history:
"Shaun will take over as captain, no matter who (experienced players) we bring in, Shaun has earned the right to be Captain by being vice-captain this season.”
"When you appoint a captain one of the first things you look at is their leadership qualities, and he is absolutely brilliant in that respect. He has been a brilliant ambassador for the Club off the pitch as well."
"Shaun could be one of the great Derby County captains, in his own way."
"He leads by example on the pitch and when you see him straining every sinew to win a header, he can be a real inspiration to the team. The lads need to look up to their captain and respect him, and I think Shaun has that.”
"As a player if you look down the line before kick-off and see someone leading you out who you respect, it can give you a lift.”
"I had it in my playing days with Stuart Pearce and Ian Bowyer, both of whom were great leaders."
RamZone would like to wish Shaun Barker all the best as the Rams Captain courageous and hope his appointment coincides with a new era of prosperity for the club on the pitch.
Go get em Barks!
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Daniel J Sewart