Photo by Matt West/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
Jozy Altidore’s struggles at Sunderland are well-documented, but manager Gus Poyet is not really sure how to solve them.
Poyet was a guest on The Football Show on Tuesday and he briefly discussed Altidore’s underwhelming first season with the Black Cats. Poyet, however, was not able to pinpoint exactly why the 24-year-old striker only scored once in the Premiership campaign after proving he could light up defenses while with AZ Alkmaar and the U.S. Men’s National Team prior to the 2013-14 campaign.
“I think he feels more comfortable with the national team for whatever reason,” said Poyet. “I don’t know if it’s that 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 in England. I don’t know but something is of course not working for us with Jozy.
“Every game he came on, he gave us a hand – at Stamford Bridge (in a 2-1 win vs. Chelsea) is an example. He was always trying his best. Unfortunately, the goals didn’t come up for him. But I am very relaxed because if you see the power he’s got, the physique, 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.”
Sunderland managed to escape relegation late in the season, but that has led to many questions from observers about Altidore’s future at the club. Some believe he should transfer this summer in order to start fresh and get more playing time while others think he would be best served to fight it out and stay with the Black Cats.
Poyet, for his part, made no indication that Altidore is on his way out. In fact, the head coach said he is still fond of the veteran striker’s game.
“I’m quite relaxed with Jozy, to be honest. I’m one of the few,” said Poyet. “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.”
What do you make of Poyet’s comments? Should Altidore stay put or move elsewhere this summer? Why do you think he struggled to score at Sunderland?
Share your thoughts below.