WHILST the Potters will be vying to prolong a 14-game unbeaten record at the Britannia Stadium against Everton this weekend . . . there is even more reason for Geoff Cameron to come out victorious in the encounter.
The United states international, who has impressed since making his summer switch from Houston Dyanmo, will be lining up against international team-mate and close friend Time Howard when the two sides lock horns on Saturday.
In the build-up to the game we sat down with Cameron to get his thoughts on the upcoming clash, as well as hearing about his friendship with the former Manchester United stopper.
Firstly Geoff, you must be looking forward to coming up against a good friend of yours, Tim Howard, this weekend?
“Yeah, for sure. I know Tim really well, from obviously the national team and we live just around the corner from each other too, so we are pretty close. We have an American bond around the Manchester area with a few of the other American guys too, which is good. Everton are flying right now, they are playing really well and they have a great squad of players. It’s going to be tough for sure, but they are coming to the Britannia Stadium and we are looking at getting the three points from the game.”
Has there been much banter flying around Manchester then this week between you and Tim?
“Not too much. We spoke a little bit on Thursday night and said that we would have a chat after the game, but that’s pretty much it really. We both said good luck to each other. Obviously, if we get the three points then I will be able to rub it in his face a little bit, but I’m sure if they win, then he will do the same. We are professionals, so there has been nothing silly between us.”
What is he like as a person Geoff, because as a goalkeeper he has certainly proven himself to be one of the best in the Premier League over the last five or six seasons!
“He is a great guy, and a person that has helped me along in my career, without a doubt. I really enjoy playing in front of him on international duty, and I think he has shown over his career that he is one of the best ‘keepers in the business. I learn a lot from him when I play in the same team as him, because he has a lot of experience. He has played for Manchester United and now at Everton, and he also has a lot of international caps too. For me, it is great to be on the same field as him. I have a lot of respect for him as a person and for him as a professional footballer.”
I would imagine that you sought advice from him then prior to making the move to England in the summer?
“Yeah, in fact Everton were one of the teams that were looking at signing me along with Stoke, so I spoke to him a few times and he gave me some good advice. He told me where is good to live, and since being here, he has been a great friend to me. He has really helped me settle into the country as well as I have done!”
So had things panned out slightly differently Geoff, it sounds like you could possibly have been lining up in a blue shirt rather than a red and white one on Saturday?
“Yeah, that’s true, it could have been different. But, for me, I am delighted where I am and I am really enjoying my time here at Stoke. I am fully focussed, we are doing pretty well this season and we want to continue that. The most important thing for us now is to go and get those three points on Saturday, to give us a good platform to build upon in what will be a very tough Christmas and New Year schedule for us.”
From a personal point of view, having played in every league game thus far, and being part of the tightest backline in the Premier League, things couldn’t really be going much better for you could they?
“It’s great. It is definitely more of a team effort though. Eleven players defend as one, so you have to give credit to every player on the pitch. For me, I am still trying to get fully used to the full-back role, as it is something pretty new to me still. I am trying to learn every day, and I feel I am improving with every game. We are defending really well as a team, and we are making it extremely hard for teams to score against us.”
Finally Geoff, 14 games unbeaten at the Britannia Stadium, I would imagine that you are intent on keeping that record intact?
“One hundred per cent! People come to the Britannia Stadium and it is an incredibly tough place for them to come and try to get a point or three points. It’s cold here, its windy and we make life difficult for them. Nobody really enjoys coming here and playing against us, so we want to make sure we continue to make that the case, and continue to pick up points as regularly as we have been doing.”