Jerome Seeks Talks Over Stoke Role
Cameron Jerome feels he has been the victim of an "unfair" selection policy at Stoke and is seeking talks with manager Tony Pulis about the matter this summer.
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Since leaving Birmingham to sign a four-year deal with the Potters on transfer deadline day last August, forward Jerome has endured a frustrating time, starting only 16 games in all competitions.
Although the 25-year-old's opportunities have been limited, he has still managed to contribute a fair share of goals and he added another by netting a 69th-minute equaliser in last night's 1-1 Barclays Premier League draw with Everton at the Britannia Stadium.
That strike - coming two minutes after his introduction as a substitute - took his tally for the season to eight and Jerome believes he should be getting more of a look in.
"I think I have made a big impact this year," said Jerome, quoted in The Sentinel.
"In the Europa League I have played most of the games and scored a few goals, and I have scored in the domestic cups.
"I have not been given a fair crack of the whip - what I think would be a fair run in the side.
"That's just my personal opinion. I train hard and I see what goes on in training. The rotation policy has not been fair in my eyes, but that is the manager's decision.
"Everyone else has to get on with it. You just have to try to make an impact when you get your opportunity on the pitch.
"But with coming on for 10 minutes here and there, it is very hard to make an impact in the Premier League."
Jerome is yet to discuss the issue with Pulis - who described him as being "a great player to have coming on when the game is getting stretched" - but intends to do so soon.
"I have not really spoken to him about playing since I have been here. He picks the side and you just get on with it," Jerome said.
"As a player you work hard in training and try to break into the team I suppose, but it seems no matter what I do I can't get in. That's something I will have to address in the summer.
"To be honest, I am unhappy about not playing, but there are probably 10 or 11 other players in the same position as me."
Jerome, who says he has not yet contemplated a move away from Stoke, understands why rotation has been employed by the club in a season where they have faced the demands of an extensive European campaign, but is not convinced the system has been entirely just.
"I have not thought about leaving, but being the age I am and in my prime, I want to play first-team football week in, week out," Jerome said.
"If it was a case of rotation fairly and on form, then I would probably be happy.
"But when you are just not getting a look in regardless of how other people perform, or how the team performs, then obviously you have to ask yourself questions."
Jerome's effort cancelled out a 44th-minute own-goal from Peter Crouch and the result saw Stoke move up a place to 13th with two games to go, two points away from the top half which they are aiming to finish in for the first time since their promotion to the Premier League in 2008.
It also guaranteed a top-10 finish for seventh-placed Everton, which manager David Moyes declared himself happy with whilst playing down the prospect of his side bettering the final league position of Liverpool, who are eighth.
The Reds' 1-0 loss to Fulham last night meant the gap between the two Merseyside rivals in the table extended to three points, and although Moyes was reluctant to speak about anything more specific than just a top-half finish, Everton defender Sylvain Distin says the Toffees - now unbeaten in seven league games - are determined to hold on to their current position.
"Our target is to remain seventh in the league and I think we're doing good," Distin told evertonfc.com.
"We knew what would happen (at Stoke), we knew they'd have a game plan and I think we did quite well to deal with it.
"We were playing away from home and we're still having a good run, but we are a bit disappointed because it was the sort of game we expected to win."