Stoke City: Cameron confident he can be a star in stripes for Potters
GEOFF Cameron believes he has already passed his initiation test at Stoke City ahead of Sunday's possible debut against Arsenal at the Britannia Stadium (1.30pm).
The American international reckons his one and only performance to date – in a pre-season friendly in Germany – was enough to win over any sceptics in the Stoke dressing room.
Cameron impressed during the 1-1 draw against Greuther Furth on August 10 – and now is hoping for more of the same if he is selected to play against the Gunners.
"I'm really excited at the prospect of being there this weekend," he said.
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"But even if it doesn't happen this weekend, it will be a proud moment for me when I pull on that shirt in front of the supporters for the first time."
Cameron, imaginatively nicknamed "The Yank" by his new colleagues, added: "In the first game (versus Greuther) I did fairly well and I think I proved to the guys that this American kid can play.
"There are guys that might have different views on American soccer players and whether we play the game as well as them, but I think they have seen over in the States that there's a lot of good players there.
"Their eyes are being opened and they are seeing that soccer there is getting much better than it was.
"They have been seeing me train, but that's different from a game-type of environment and they wanted to see me play.
"Some of the guys came up to me (after the Furth game) and said I had passed the test. I said I appreciate that.
"They have been great to me. They have welcomed me with open arms and I am happy to be here."
Manager Tony Pulis has also made him feel at home – and Cameron has been quick to size up his new boss.
"He's a fiery guy and passionate. He wants to be part of the game. In every instance of the game, he wants to be part of it and encourage the guys to get better," he added.
"If something happens, he gets in the ref's face. He wants to let the ref know, 'Hey, you are messing up'."
Cameron has also been taken by the sight of Peter Crouch strutting his stuff in a Stoke shirt during his short time with the club.
"The guy is six foot, seven. When you see a guy that tall you figure he won't have the co-ordination, but he's so good," he explained.
"You can ping the ball into him and he can drop it on his chest or at his feet. This guy has played at some pretty big clubs like Liverpool and Tottenham. So to see him here at Stoke you think 'wow'."
There was a time when Cameron feared he would never quite get to be Crouch's team-mate as negotiations over his move from Houston Dynamo spluttered on over the summer.
Houston themselves were keen to do business, but his actual transfer fee had to be agreed with his league, the MLS, not his club.
That meant Cameron having to sit tight and watch from the sidelines when his future team-mates played those three friendlies in Columbus, Orlando and Kansas City on their recent tour of America.
He now reflects: "The good thing is, Dynamo supported me 100 per cent because I think it was a good deal for them as well.
"There were times when I thought it had fallen through and that Stoke had had enough, but they kept on fighting and ended up getting me.
"The stress has obviously gone now, so I can just focus on playing football."