After a hot start in his first season in the Netherlands, it appears that Jozy Altidore is going to have to fight for his place in AZ Alkmaar's starting lineup.
According to reports out of the Netherlands, AZ manager Gertjan Verbeek has elected to bench Altidore ahead of Thursday's UEFA Europa League match against Austria Wien.
The timing of the benching seems peculiar considering that Altidore had done plenty of damage in the Europa League. He scored four goals in AZ's last three Europa games, including a brace in a qualifier against Aalesund and single goals in group matches against Malmo and Metalist Kharkiv.
Verbeek, however, reportedly favors Charlison Benschop, who came on for Altidore during the weekend's draw with Ajax and made an impact despite not scoring. It remains to be seen whether this benching is temporary or more of a long-term indication of where Verbeek thinks Altidore stands in his pecking order.
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