After all the talk of where U.S. international Geoff Cameron might play this year for a more stylish brand of Stoke City soccer, he was back at his old home along the right side of the Potters’ defense as the preseason schedule closed Saturday.
Cameron was at right back for a scoreless draw against Genoa at the Britannia. It was Stoke’s final match before Premier League play begins at Liverpool on Saturday, the first match under new manager Mark Hughes.
(Stoke is home to three and, soon enough, a fourth American – so we’ll be checking in often this year on events around Britannia Stadium, even if the Potters don’t shine as brightly as some other Premier League glamour sides.)
With some useful minutes at defensive midfielder for Jurgen Klinsmann’s national team a few weeks ago, Cameron re-lit some talk about where he might be stationed this year for Stoke. Hughes was vague about Cameron’s impending usage, but did mention that options seemed to be open.
Don’t forget, Cameron was a center back for some of his time at Houston, and that was his first spot for the national team. (Given Oguchi Onyewu’s ongoing inability to get himself back up to international speed, perhaps Cameron’s days as a center back in the U.S. shirt aren’t done, either.)
Still, with all that, he was lined up Saturday to the right of Robert Huth and captain Ryan Shawcross, once again the first choice center backs at the Britannia.
Playing right back under Hughes should be a totally different exercise this year. With the previous version of Stoke, attacking was more or less an afterthought. Right back hurrying into the attack? Surely, you jest!
Under Hughes, however, an enterprising outside back may get to stretch his legs a bit. Saturday, Stoke dominated possession. Possession, of course, is the first prerequisite for getting outside backs into the attack.
What Hughes said on his club’s official website: “We played the vast majority of the half in the opposition’s half of the pitch which is what we want to do, especially here at the Britannia Stadium. … We developed good patterns of play in the middle of the park and great space out of wide and were able to cause them problems.”