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Leon Best hopes joining Derby County will remind people what he has to offer

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: August 05, 2014

Leon Best

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Derby County’s latest signing, striker Leon Best, hopes joining will give him the opportunity to remind people what he has to offer.

Best describes the last two years since his £3m move from Newcastle United to Blackburn Rovers as the most frustrating time of his career.

He suffered a serious knee injury playing in a friendly against AEK Athens only weeks after arriving at Rovers and has made just 11 starts for the Lancashire club.

He finished last season on loan at Sheffield Wednesday.

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So, Best sees his season-long loan to Derby as something of a fresh start and the 27-year-old Republic of Ireland international is excited about the challenge.

“I cannot wait to get started. I am here to play football and I feel this is a new start,” he said.

“This is a big move for me, definitely. I feel privileged to be here working with the players and the manager, Steve McClaren.”

Best still has two years to run on his contract at Blackburn and the Ewood Park club will continue to pay a hefty slice of his wages.

Looking back at the last two years, Best said: “A lot of people remember my injury (at Blackburn) before anything.

“It was the worst possible start for me.

“I was playing in a pre-season game for Blackburn, I had just scored a lovely goal and then got injured – the worst injury I have had in my career.

“It was so hard – your whole world comes crashing down.

“Then it is all about the people you have got around you – your team mates, the physios, and your family.

“For me, that was a crash in my football career with Blackburn but, mentally, as a man and a footballer, it actually opened my eyes to what I really need to do to become better.

“I am a confident player, I just want to play.

“I work very hard and it is just a matter of getting on the field to show that – and I have not been given that chance.

“Now I have got that chance.

“It is about being given the opportunity to play and then the rest is down to me.”

Best, Nottingham-born, will remain with Derby until the end May but he will be ineligible to face Rovers when the Rams visit Ewood Park on September 17 and in the reverse fixture between the sides on January 24.

He has been given permission to play in the Capital One Cup.

Best is delighted to be with Derby for the whole season.

“The importance of that is massive,” he said.

“I feel I have aged 30 years waiting to come here.

“It was a hassle getting here, things kept popping up and at one stage, I thought the move wasn’t going to happen.

“I had a few sleepless nights but now I am here, I can say the last two nights, I have slept well!“

Best will wear the number 30 shirt.

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