Stoke City: 'Crazy' fans helping Cameron relish realising English dream
M OST footballers will tell you they hate being on the bench – Geoff Cameron says he loved it.
Don't get him wrong, Stoke City's £1.6m signing from Houston Dynamo is hoping to be in the side when the Potters take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this afternoon.
But the 27-year-old says he enjoyed soaking up the Britannia Stadium experience from the sidelines as the Potters fought out a 1-1 draw with Manchester City last week.
There was certainly plenty of attention focused on the Stoke bench, although Cameron points out that was all to do with his fellow substitute Michael Owen, a player he grew up admiring on television in Boston, USA.
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"It was crazy," said Cameron.
"I said to him, 'Hey, those cameras are all looking at you bud!"
It wasn't just the company he enjoyed. Cameron says he's been taken aback by the Britannia atmosphere, both on his debut against Arsenal and as an unused substitute against Roberto Mancini's champions.
He said: "The passion the fans have here is incredible.
"The pride they have in their footballers and the love they have for their team is unmatched by anybody.
"I didn't know what to expect, but it was amazing.
"I heard from the guys here that our fans are pretty crazy, very loyal and very supportive. They have stayed true to that since my first game."
Cameron's first game, against Arsenal, was a central midfielder. His second, at Wigan, began in midfield but he quickly moved to right wing-back and right-back after Andy Wilkinson went off injured.
There's every chance he will start on the right of defence this afternoon as Wilkinson serves the first of a three-game ban for elbowing Mario Balotelli.
Cameron hardly put a foot wrong in that position at Wigan, but admits he doesn't have much experience there.
He has spent most of his career as a central midfielder or a ball-playing central defender.
He says right-back isn't his best position, but he's willing to learn.
Cameron added: "I think centre-back is my best position. I play there for the national team and am very comfortable there.
"I like to play out from the back. Even at Dynamo we used to play from the back. We initiated the attack, and it's the same with the national team.
"But I have played a lot of my career playing defensive or offensive central midfield. I think I have a decent engine and can run.
"But honestly, I just want to get on the field and get in some playing time. I think I can adjust to any position, or I'd like to think so."
Cameron is also making adjustments to life in England.
He's currently house hunting and enjoying the life in North Staffordshire.
The only inconvenience so far is not being able to get the latest episodes of the television dramas such as Boardwalk Empire, which he left mid-series in Houston.
However, that is a minor setback for a player who has always wanted to play in English football.
The experience should do his international prospects no harm.
He already has eight caps and is becoming an important member of the United States' World Cup qualifying campaign being put together by manager Jurgen Klinsmann.
He's enormously proud to represent his country, and never more so than last week when he was in the team which beat Jamaica on the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attack on New York.
He describes the build-up to the game as one of the most emotional moments he has experienced. He said: "We had a team meeting with the firefighters from New York who were down there in the rubble in 9/11.
"They talked about their experience, what they took out of it and what the United States is all about.
"Then we walked out in the game and saw the American flags. There was so much passion there and so much support, more than ever.
"Listening to the national anthem gave us more chills than normal and then the moment of silence was unreal. It was completely silent.
"Playing and representing your country is something to be proud of. Wearing "the patch" is an honour."
As the Stoke squad has become more multi-national in recent years, fans have begun to bring along flags to support the overseas players, so it would be no surprise to see the Stars and Stripes fluttering from the Boothen End before too long.
Cameron says he's appreciated the welcome he's had already.
He said: "It's been great here. I have been hearing a few 'USA, USA' chants, which were pretty cool."