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Ex-Derby midfielder plays for free at Oxford United

Ex-Derby midfielder George Thorne plays for free at Oxford United, it’s been revealed, in a bid to revive his playing career.

The player was loan to the League One playoff hopefuls in the first half of the season, however he’s struggled for game time since March 2018 due to injuries and falling out of favour at the Championship club.

He dislocated his shoulder after 23 minutes into his first start for the U’s in their 4-0 Carabao Cup win over West Ham in September.

Now Thorne is ready for action again and agreed to return to Oxford, but play for free until the end of the season after agreeing a settlement on the rest of his Derby contract.

Thorne told Sky Sports News: “It was key for me to start enjoying football again. The last few years, because I haven’t been playing football and other things were going on, I wasn’t enjoying going into work at Derby and enjoying myself. I was going in and training with the kids.

“The most difficult thing is not being injured and still not being able to play. The biggest thing for me was to come somewhere with someone I trust, someone that trusts me, would allow me the opportunity to prove my ability and my fitness.”

According to Sky Sports, Oxford boss Karl Robinson shares the same agent as the midfielder and the pair had bumped into each other several times over the years while on holiday. So it was a no brainer to bring him in to the club.

Robinson said: “He at one stage was one of the best players in the Championship. He was running games on his own, his weight of pass, his vision.

“He’s one of the nicest young men you’ll ever meet and he’s been through so much. I remember speaking to him when he did his shoulder and he was almost in tears, the conversation we had he said ‘gaffer I’ve had enough, I can’t mentally deal with this any more, my body can’t deal with it’, it was a very difficult conversation for us to have.

“He’s just an unbelievable character and by the way – he’s an exceptional footballer and we’re very very lucky to have him.”

“I want to just find the love for it again, get myself playing, I’m a free agent in the summer and I’ve only just turned 27 so I still see myself having another good six or seven years (of playing).”

With nine games in February alone, Thorne is likely to get his wish in the coming months at Oxford.

Derby’s head coach Steve McClaren described him as a “young player with great potential”, and the 27 year old captained the side in the year they got to Wembley Stadium in the Championship playoff final in 2014, which they were beaten by QPR.

The season after that, Thorne suffered the first of two serious knee injuries,, he struggled to get back into the team during Frank Lampard and Philip Cocu’s regimes, and a loan spell at Luton last season saw him make just three substitute appearances.

You can watch the full interview for your by clicking HERE.

After finding out that ex-Derby midfielder George Thorne has joined and plays for free at Oxford United, fans gave their reaction on social media…

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