Eternal substitute Cameron Puertas with a heroic role against Anderlecht: “Of course it is difficult to hear that you will not start, but I will continue to work”
9 de January, 2023
Speaking of a strong raid: Cameron Puertas was allowed to come in in the Brussels derby in the 62nd minute with a 0-0 score. The 24-year-old midfielder immediately saw Anderlecht take the lead, but thanks to a nice goal and an assist, he was one of the key players in Union’s historic sixth consecutive derby win against Anderlecht.
You’ve got to hand it to him: giving up isn’t in Cameron Puertas’ dictionary. The Swiss Spaniard came over exactly one year ago as a then record purchase (1.15 million euros) from Lausanne Sport, but has never really been able to break pots at Union since then. Puertas has appeared only twice since his arrival at kick-off, coming on 31 times.
That was also the case last Sunday with a 0-0 score against Anderlecht, and it was perhaps Puertas’ best substitution ever, by turning a deficit into a lead with a goal and an assist. “I already felt good during the warm-up and I saw that there was a lot of space,” said the midfielder. “I’m glad I was able to use it in the end. It is of course magnificent for this club to win here again: winning six times in a row is huge. Derbies are always special, it is for these kinds of matches that we play football.”
Puertas can look back on an excellent substitution, although he will probably still have a bitter feeling about the fact that Karel Geraerts chose El Azzouzi over him to replace the suspended Teuma in the starting eleven. “Yes, of course it is difficult as a player to hear that you will not start again. That’s football: you have to respect the choices of the coach. I will continue to work very hard and do what the coach asks of me, so I hope to be able to enforce some more basic places in the future.”
It is of course true that Puertas is not in the happiest position to make many minutes, because with Teuma, Lynen and Lazare, Union has a very strong midfield. “There is huge competition,” Puertas also sees. “But in the end that’s good, it only makes us better. All the midfield players are very strong and that always pushes us to the limit. We continue to evolve and push each other forward: that is only positive for the team.”
Example for others
If you were still in doubt: Puertas is a top professional. And Karel Geraerts knows that too. “He is a textbook example for many football players,” said the 41-year-old coach. “He was disappointed when he heard on Saturday that he would not start against Anderlecht. That is normal. He fights very hard to be in the base, but that is not easy. He was everywhere against Anderlecht. His goal and his assist are one thing, but he was also in very good shape for the rest. He shows that you should never give up, even when the going gets tough”, concludes the Limburger. On to a basic place on Thursday in the cup against Ghent?