Stoke City’s Geoff Cameron has spoken of his excitement at finally being given the chance to showcase his midfield credentials for the Potters.
Cameron, 29, made his first Premier League appearance of the season in last weekend’s 2-1 win over Swansea after recovering from a hernia issue, entering the match in the 62nd-minute to shore up the middle of the park.
A solid showing, which saw him contribute towards what proved to be the winning goal, now has Mark Hughes reconsidering his role after making most of his 73 league appearances for the club at right-back, and the versatile US international is keen to impress his manager over the coming weeks.
‘I had a conversation with the manager to say I will fill in at right-back if needed, but that's not my position, I want to be at defensive midfielder or centre-back,’ he told the Stoke Sentinel.
‘There are a lot of guys who are very good fighting for those positions and if I can get my opportunity I've got to take advantage of it.
‘That's the position I want to play. It's what I'm comfortable playing for the national team and I just want to get out there and get playing again.’
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With Glenn Whelan ruled out for around six week after fracturing his leg, Hughes has revealed that he Cameron have had talks in the past about a midfielder switch, and is eager to see what he can do with more minutes.
‘I had a conversation with him at the beginning of the year,’ he told the club’s official website.
‘My understanding of Geoff has obviously been shaped by the games he’s played for me, and that was more often than not at right-back.
‘I’ve never really had the opportunity to play him in that position, but he obviously had a good World Cup and impressed at centre-back and in midfield, so [Sunday] just gave me a clearer indication that he’s capable of doing that role.’
Cameron in fact played his first professional season with the Houston Dynamo in the midfield after being selected in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft, but was soon moved to centre-back after impressing head coach Dominic Kinnear in the role, before going on to win the 2009 MLS Defender of the Year award.
Earning his national team debut in 2010, he continued to put in his best outings in sparing appearances further up the pitch over the next few seasons, however, until a £2 million move to Stoke in the summer of 2012 saw him settle in at right-back at the Britannia Stadium.
After featuring in more comfortable roles in the centre of defence and defensive midfield during the US side’s run to the World Cup’s last-16 this summer, there were claims of friction with Hughes over his preferred position, and even reports of a transfer request being handed in.
The likes of Hull, Swansea, Southampton, Sunderland, West Brom, Schalke and even Lazio were all reportedly courting his signature following Phil Bardsley’s arrival to fill his former spot in the line-up, but no firm approach ever appeared to materialise.
The 30-times capped international now has a prime chance to make the defensive midfield role his own over the next few fixtures, however, and, given how well he has performed there for both Houston and the US in the past, one can envisage him holding it down for the foreseeable future.