NATHAN Cameron gave an insight into the competitive edge that thrust him to the centre of Bury’s promotion-winning campaign after gratefully accepting the Bury Times player of the season award.

The 23-year-old defender was unashamedly delighted to scoop the prize following a campaign that saw him play in every single one of the Shakers’ 52 matches, starting 51 of them and scoring four goals along the way.

“To win player of the year is a massive achievement,” he said.

“I think it is something every player wants.

“I wouldn’t lie and say it doesn’t matter – it does.

“Everyone wants to be the best.

“I want to win every game I play, every time I step on to the pitch, even every time I train.

“I am one of the most competitive people, so to achieve player of the year is massive for me personally and for my family.”

Danny Mayor’s exciting wing play rightly earned him the plaudits, with the Shakers midfielder winning the League Two player of the season award and becoming the only Bury player to earn a place in the division’s PFA team of the year.

But while Nathan Cameron’s mature displays in defence may, as manager David Flitcroft described it, have gone “under the radar” on the national stage the former Coventry centre-back’s improved performances have not been overlooked at Bury.

After coming off the bench in the opening-day defeat against Cheltenham, Cameron started the next game at Bolton Wanderers in the Capital One Cup and was an ever-present in the starting line-up for the remainder of the campaign.

He eradicated the mistakes that had been a feature of his first season at the club, adding a calm authority to his natural game as a ball-playing, tough tackling centre-back.

His tally of four goals could perhaps have been even better but there could be few other complaints following a near faultless campaign.

Flitcroft was certainly won over after seemingly freezing Cameron out of the first-team picture the previous season.

Cameron was hauled off at half-time in a 4-0 defeat at Chesterfield in January, just a month after Flitcroft arrived as manager, and he did not play again until the final three games of the campaign.

But as the young defender recalls, he knuckled down during the summer and started pre-season in the best shape of his life, determined to prove a few people wrong, and he has reaped the rewards.

“It was hard to put into words how I felt after winning promotion,” said Cameron, whose towering performances earned him the armband last November and he ended the campaign with a promotion on his CV.

“From where I was at the end of last season, the contrast of emotions was amazing, to be honest.

“The end of last season was a difficult time for me. It was my first season at the club and I wanted to do well, but it just didn’t work out.

“So to come out of the other side and captain the team to promotion was an incredible feeling and a complete contrast.”

Cameron admits the promotion campaign, which culminated in a final-day victory at Tranmere that secured a top-three spot, has taken its toll, with a well-earned holiday on the agenda.

Although he has already enjoyed his first sunshine break after chairman Stewart Day treated the first-team squad and coaching staff to a weekend in Spain.

As the young defender explained, the gesture was very much appreciated.

"It has been a long season and when the final whistle went (at Tranmere) I just dropped to the floor in relief," said Cameron.

"It was a strange experience because as I lay on the floor I rolled over and saw this flood of 2,000 supporters coming towards me.

"I was at the opposite end of the pitch to the Bury fans and it took every ounce of energy I had left to haul myself to my feet to go and celebrate with them.

"But that was unbelievable, something I have never experienced before.

"I was mobbed, but I didn’t care. It didn’t matter to me that we couldn’t get back to the dressing room.

"I was happy to stay out on the pitch for as long as they would let me.

"To be captain of a team that achieves promotion or wins things is every kid’s dream. It is an honour to think I have been able to captain such a proud old club to promotion."