BURTON Albion defender Shaun Barker has announced that he will retire from playing at the end of the season.
The former Derby County player was out of the game for four years after suffering a serious knee injury playing for the Rams but fought back against the odds to sign for the Brewers. He made his Burton Albion debut in the 1-0 victory over Derby at the Pirelli Stadium last season.
But now, ahead of this season’s home game against his former club, he has announced that he is hanging up his boots at the end of the season.
He said: “I spoke to the manager on Monday after a few weeks of deliberation and decided that it will be it for me in terms of playing. I signed for this club with the gaffer wanting me to be around the squad and on the bench and on the pitch for the last five or ten minutes if needed.
“Ultimately, when you are a footballer you want to play football and when you aren’t getting results you are desperate to go out there and help any way you can
“Over the last couple of season, I have started reserve games and have felt quite good. Six weeks ago, I did a training session and was top of the pile in terms of distance covered and sprints and things like that. I played in a game for 45 minutes and felt pretty good but two days later I was struggling to walk. I knew then the comeback I was hoping for was never going to happen but I’m still proud to have been part of this club’s journey.
“I have enjoyed every single moment and have enjoyed different experiences at every club. I was very lucky to play for a club the size of Derby County. I never thought as a player that I would get to play at a club that size. But that’s all overwhelmed by the fact that I managed to get on the pitch at this club under this manager. For the career I have had that goes along way to show important that moment was for me.
“I want to thank the Burton fans, the Derby fans and every club I have played for the fans have been quite remarkable with me. They like honest players and I have never been the best technical player they will see - I I like to head the ball. But the fans have taken to me and I have been very fortunate over the years.”
Shaun is 35 and says he will now take time to think about where his future lies.
“It’s not a decision I have made. I will be available for what the gaffer needs for the end of the season and make that decision from there.”
Nigel Clough said: “It’s always brilliant to have someone like Shaun around. He’s had a magnificent career and it could have been even more. Getting the injury at his prime was tragic for him. He’s given it everything and no player could have tried harder than him to come back.
“His influence goes way beyond the pitch and that’s a sign of what he is like as a person. Supporters remember him performance wise but those who know him, and his team mates know him for more than that.”