Geoff Cameron hasn’t looked back since joining Stoke City from the Houston Dynamo in August 2012 and things are getting better for the U.S. international.
In his second full season in the Premier League, Cameron has consolidated his place as a starter for Stoke as new manager Mark Hughes replaced Tony Pulis, the man who bought Cameron.
The 28-year-old defender — whose versatility and incredible engine has seen him used in a variety of positions for club and country but mostly right back for the Potters — is excelling as an attacking full back under Hughes and speaks about the change in philosophy from Pulis to Hughes suiting his talents.
During the two recent USMNT friendlies in Europe, Cameron excelled at center back and was arguably the USA’s best player against Scotland and Austria. Not a bad thing to be doing as he looks to rubber-stamp his spot in the starting lineup at the World Cup in Brazil next summer.
Cameron played in 35 PL games during his debut season in England, he’s been ever present in Stoke’s team this season so far too.
I caught up with him — as well as throwing a bit of banter at each other as our path crossed many moons ago amongst the college soccer circuit — whilst he was on international duty with the U.S. squad.
This is what the marauding right back had to say.
On playing for new Stoke manager Mark Hughes:
I think it’s been tremendous, he’s a really, really good coach. He’s positive, he’s playing the ball on the pitch and that suits my style better than the way we played under Pulis which was a lot of long balls. That didn’t suit my style as much as I would’ve wanted it to. Saying that, I had 38 games last year under him [Pulis] I’ve been fortunate. And as for playing for Hughes, it’s been great so far.
On being encouraged to attack from right back:
He wants the outside backs to get involved and be a part of the offense and make it difficult for the other team so they have to defend me as well. And, I’m seeing the ball a lot more. Where last year, you just get it and you hump it down the line and you just hope for something. Whereas this year there’s intention of going forward, coming in, getting it back and creating stuff.
On Stoke’s mixed bag of results so far:
I think overall, we’re disappointed with some of the results that we’ve had. You know, the Manchester United and Swansea game and Man City at home we should have won, we had opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net, so those things and those little points here and there hurt you. Saying that, we’ll be okay. I think once we get another win under our belt, our confidence will go and we will get on a roll. I think sometimes we get in a situation where you go up and we’re not used to being up on teams because you kind of fight for a goal in the last minute or something like that and you don’t really realize, ‘hey, you’re up 2-0 against Swansea, let’s keep doing what we’re doing, play the way we played to get the two goals.’ All of a sudden I think we get a little nervous and you’re not confident with keeping the lead. That’s something that we obviously have to work on and get that mentality. I think it’s a mentality thing. (They obviously have been, as Cameron helped Stoke defeat Sunderland 2-0 in Week 12 of the PL, their first home win since August.)
On cementing his place for USMNT:
Just put your name on the list. That’s obviously the goal, going to the World Cup. You just have to be consistent and be a regular player and go from there, little baby steps you know?
On the tough World Cup draw ahead:
I’ll watch it on December 6 and kind of go from there….
On having the other American players at Stoke:
It’s cool. We’re challenging the British guys now, which is cool. I’ve been outnumbered for a while, then Brek and Mo came and slowly we’re taking over the locker room which is pretty cool. It’s good, I think it’s easier for people to adjust because there are a few other Americans to support you if you need anything.