George Thorne played a full 90 minutes as Derby were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Barnsley.

Derby County midfielder George Thorne has revealed his delight at returning to the field after another long injury lay off. The former West Bromwich Albion man said it was ‘the hardest challenge of my career’ and it was a ‘relief’ to pull the shirt back on.

Thorne’s most recent injury set back saw the midfielder break his leg in the final game of the 2015/16 season and fans will remember the scenes vividly as he was stretchered off the pitch to rapturous applause.

Thorne, who originally joined Derby on loan in 2014, played no part in the 2016-17 season but kept fans updated on his rehabilitation through cheery Twitter posts and promising interviews as he edged closer to his long-awaited return.

During Derby’s pre-season tour of Tenerife this year, the central midfielder pulled his hamstring during a training session, striking fear into many Derby fans who couldn’t bare the thought of another season without their star player.

Derby manager Gary Rowett and Academy boss Darren Wassall boosted the player’s comeback when they featured him in an Under-23’s fixture, a 2-0 loss to Chelsea at Pride Park, and despite the disappointing scoreline there were some encouraging signs from the Englishman.

Rowett said after last night’s game that Thorne showed some ‘good composure’ and looked ‘comfortable’ on the ball, two qualities that the Rams faithful will always associate with their powerhouse midfielder.

With such a huge step forward, no doubt the fans at Pride Park will be excited to see their key player pulling the strings from midfield once again.

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I've been a Derby County fan all my life and so i'm well accustomed to snatching defeat from the jaws of defeat. I'll be writing mostly about my beloved Derby but i'll talk about anything I find interesting. All views are my own