Jerome happy to have another crack at the Championship after MK Dons blocked his January move
Second tier holds no fears for experienced striker
New Luton signing Cameron Jerome was happy to get another crack at the Championship after almost missing out on the opportunity.
The forward was with League One MK Dons last season, with a move to his former club Cardiff a distinct possibility in January.
However, the deal didn’t go through due to a replacement unable to be found by the Stadium MK side meaning, frustratingly for Jerome, he stayed put.
He went on to score 15 goals in 38 appearances, but is now finally back in the second tier again following his move to Kenilworth Road earlier this month.
On leaving the Dons, Jerome said: “It wasn’t really a difficult decision, it was spoken about openly with Russell (Martin, manager).
“We had an agreement with the chairman and the manager there that I was going to leave in January, but the club went back on their decision which was slightly disappointing.
“It’s something that as a professional that can happen, you’ve just got to get on with it, take the rough with the smooth.
“Sometimes things don’t work out your way, you don’t always get you want, but you can’t get distracted, can’t get away from your goal and your focus.
“I believe I gave my all for the club from the minute I was there to the minute I left at the end of the season.
“It was always the goal to try and get back playing in the Championship and playing at the highest level that I believe I can still perform at.”
Having played 269 games in the second tier, scoring 80 goals, the Championship holds no fears for a striker who has been a regular at the highest level as well.
Jerome continued: “You would have seen from some of the performances last year that the legs are still there, the enthusiasm and hunger is still there.
“I have operated at this level throughout my career and higher, so it is not a question in that sense to perform at this level it was more of an opportunity.
“I’m grateful that the gaffer Nathan Jones and the club have given me the opportunity to showcase my ability back at this level.
“It’s something I’m looking forward to having dropped down last year, but given the circumstances it had to be done.
“You’ve almost got to go away and remind everybody of your capability again and I believe I did that last year.
“It’s a level I’ve operated at before for a number of years, so it’s nothing that I’ve got a fear about.”
Being 34 years of age and in his 18th season as a professional, Jerome is eager to show any doubters that he is still more than capable of producing the goods too, adding: “It’s something I’m looking forward to prove as age is such a big thing in this country.
“When you get over a certain age, you’re sort of written off almost, but I’m always looking at proving people wrong and looking forward to challenges, as it’s a new challenge at a new club.
“Deciding to drop down to League One, to play regularly, it gave me that fire to show everyone that, regardless of age, if you’ve got the ability and you can perform week in, week out, there’s no reason you can’t play higher.
“That was the thing that was driving and spurring me on.
“You’re always having to prove yourself in football.
"You’re soon forgotten about and yesterday’s news, so that was spurring me on to keep going to reach where I wanted to be.
“Ultimately, where I wanted to be was back in the Championship. That wasn’t to be last year, but obviously the year at MK Dons has done me well.
“It’s proved maybe one or two things to certain people and now I’ve got the opportunity to come back and perform at this level again this year.
"As a professional you have to dedicate yourself to your craft or your sport and hard work starts at training, your nutrition, your diet, preparation.
"All those things can prolong and help your career advance, it is something I have always taken a keen interest in."
Jerome didn't think his move to the Hatters represented a second chance for himself to show he can still cut it in the second tier though, adding: "I wouldn’t say so as I’ve been at this level and higher, so I just think it’s an opportunity to continue playing, to prolong my career at the highest level you possibly can.
"If you ask any footballer, players I’ve played with, players at a similar age, you play as long as you can at as high as you can.
"I love competing, that’s my thrill, competing week in week out against my opponent, so for me it’s about playing as high as I can for as long as I can, that’s as simple as it is."