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Sunderland manager is “one of the few” not worried about Jozy Altidore

May 14, 2014, 8:40 AM EDT

Manchester United v Sunderland - Premier League Getty Images

Gus Poyet knows American striker Jozy Altidore did not have a good season at Sunderland. He isn’t going to shy away from that, nor could he with the 24-year-old scoring exactly one Premier League goal and two in all competitions for the Northeast England club.

But in an interview on SiriusXM’s “The Football Show,” Poyet insists he’s “one of the few” who is relaxed when it comes to Altidore.

He loves the Yank’s shot, attitude and effort, and can’t explain why Altidore is having more success for the United States than his club team.

Some Poyet quotes, courtesy of MLSSoccer.com’s Andrew Wiebe:

“I don’t know if it’s when you feel that you are a main player. I don’t know if the pace of the game with the national team is different than England,” Poyet said. “I don’t, I don’t know. Something is, of course, not working for us with Jozy.”

“Every game he came on, he gave us a hand – at Stamford Bridge is an example. He was always trying his best,” Poyet said. “Unfortunately, the goals didn’t come for him. But I am relaxed because if you see the power he’s got, if you see the shot – he can shoot, I can tell you that, because I see him every day. It’s just that momentum, that click that is going to be for him so important.

“But I’m quite relaxed with Jozy, to be honest. I’m one of the few. I know it’s difficult for a striker when he doesn’t score, but I like him. I like him. I like him as a boy and I like him as a player. He just couldn’t find the net. Sometimes it happens. You change clubs, and you cannot do it at one club for whatever reason.”

Of course, the reasons — or excuses, for naysayers — are plentiful. Altidore joined a newer league where it’s harder to score than the goal-happy Eredivisie. It’s also likely that it’s easier to score in CONCACAF than it is in the Premier League as well.

But it’s good to hear that Poyet isn’t having massive doubts about Altidore, especially when a strong World Cup can buoy the forward, well, forward. If the striker can come back to the Stadium of Light in fine form, it sounds like Poyet won’t be hesitant to deploy his American target man.

  1. rafibomb10 - May 14, 2014 at 8:53 AM

    Jozy’s touch with Sunderland was poor. His service provided by his teammates was also poor. Personally I believed Jozy would have fared better in a league like Serie A, or Ligue 1. Jozy has excelled because he is the strongest player on the field. Going to a physical league like the Premier League, meant defensively he matched up well with the center backs, which was not his best fit, because he was playing guys who enjoyed contact.

    Serie A or Ligue 1 would have been a better fit, allowing him to use his brute strength rather than his skill.

    Like the article said though, there were not any takers other than Sunderland…

  2. gregalthoff - May 14, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    If Sunderland’s goal is to sell him after the World Cup, Poyet needs to make Alitdore look better than his numbers might imply. It does him no good to say “this kid can’t cut it in the EPL”

  3. jucam1 - May 14, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    He is not a top league like La Liga, Serie A, and especially not EPL. He topped out in a weak Dutch league, but he just isn’t a top world class player. I know the US hype machine wanted to make him special, but he’s not. He should come back to the MLS where he can be dominant. I hope Jurgen only uses him as sub, as a starter he will get destroyed by the Germans and the Portuguese.

  4. elgallo2001 - May 14, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    I watched most of Sunderlands games this season and none of their forwards scored well this season. Wickmam started heating up late in the season but overall it was poor service out of the mid all season. I think Jozy deserves another season to see if he can make it click.

  5. kans0002 - May 14, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    i am “one of the many” who IS worried about Jozy this summer…

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