Cameron Jerome: Talentspotter

Stoke City striker Cameron Jerome talks to FourFourTwo back in March 2006, when he was playing for Cardiff City.

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The lads call me CJ and that's what most people now know me as, although when I played football back home in Huddersfield, my mates used to call me 'Killer'.

Club supported
I was a Man United fan when I was a kid. I used to sit in the Stretford End. My hero was Eric Cantona but I loved watching Andy Cole – he was my favourite striker.

I'd say my pace and power. When I was at school, I did 100 metres in 11 seconds dead and I'm still as fast now.

I'm six foot but I've only scored a couple of goals with my head, so I should attack the ball more in the box. My movement when I'm not in possession could be better and I'd like to sharpen up the timing of my runs.

I play like...
I wouldn't like to compare myself to anyone. I'm the type of striker who likes to drift out wide, but can also be a poacher in the box.

Making my first-team debut against Leeds last season. I came on for the last 20 minutes and hit the bar in a 0-0 draw. I did quite well against experienced defenders Paul Butler and Clarke Carlisle. It was also fantastic to make my England Under-21 debut against Austria in October, replacing Carlton Cole for the last five minutes.

That would be leaving Huddersfield at 15. I wasn't enjoying my football there and it was my choice to leave, not theirs. When I quit, I just played with my mates and after school, I was doing nothing. Then I decided to give football another go. Luckily, it's worked out well so far.

Toughest opponent
Chris Morgan, the Sheffield United skipper. He's an experienced, die-hard defender who's always breathing down your neck. I might get the better of him on the deck, but he's very hard to play against in the air and he'll often come through the back of you.

Best player played with
Danny Gabbidon is brilliant. I'm not surprised he's doing so well at West Ham because he's got it all for a defender: positional sense, a great leap and composure on the ball. Carlton Cole is another who impressed me: he's got most things a striker could want.

Biggest practical joker
Neil Cox is always full of banter, but I've only ever been a victim of a practical joke once, last Christmas, when the lads told me we had to be in for training when it was really a day off. I only discovered the truth when I phoned up my team-mate Toni Koskela, who obviously wasn't in on the joke.

Biggest influence
My dad Hanson has always pushed me and will be critical of my performances if he feels I deserve it. Paul Wilkinson has always been good to me and as a former striker himself, I've learnt a great deal from him. I've often come in for extra training with Paul on my days off, and hopefully we're seeing the benefits now.

Last iPod download
I've got a lot of R'n'B and hip-hop on my iPod, but the last download was probably a hip-hop mix tape that Michael Ricketts got from America.

I've got some way to go to match Jeff Whitley's Chrysler Crossfire or the Aston Martin that Michael Ricketts says he's got, but for now I'm happy with my Audi A3. I bought it as soon as I passed my test last May.

It's a toss-up between Beyonce or Jessica Alba, but if push came to shove I'd go for Alba.

King Kong was a good film but I didn't realise how long it went on for. I made the mistake of catching a late showing and I was more than ready for bed by the time it ended!

I laugh at...
I love the Def Jam comedies and have quite a few of them. People like Chris Rock and Cedric The Entertainer make me laugh, but Bernie Mac is probably the funniest of all.

Holiday destination
Miami. I went there last summer with Jobi McAnuff, Richard Langley and Alan Lee and it was a nice place with beautiful girls, great beaches and a good nightlife. Perfect.

If I didn't play football...
If the chance had presented itself earlier, I might have moved into athletics.

Describe yourself in five words
Ambitious, kind, chirpy, focused and funny.

In five years I'll be...
Playing in the Premiership, with a bit of luck. I've seen the likes of Nathan Ellington and Robert Earnshaw make the step up. I'm confident I can do the same.

Interview: Luke Nicoli. From the March 2006 issue of FourFourTwo.