Usa-pan_altidoregoal_mikerussellfoto-34 Mike Russell/
Player Spotlight

Sarajevo Exclusive: Jozy Altidore Discusses His Game

One day before the United States takes on Bosnia in Sarajevo, Jozy Altidore spoke with American Soccer Now about the World Cup, his move to Sunderland, and his commitment to the U.S. national team.
BY Graham Ruthven Posted
August 13, 2013
2:26 PM
SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina—When Jozy Altidore made the transfer from AZ Alkmaar to Premier League side Sunderland, many questioned whether the move was wise. With a World Cup looming, would transferring to a new club where game time is not guaranteed be a good step?

Altidore isn’t concerned. In fact, he likes to look at the situation from an entirely different perspective.

Speaking to ASN in Sarajevo, where the United States is preparing to face Bosnia on Wednesday (2:30 Eastern; ESPN2 and UniMas), Altidore said the level of competition at his new club will only improve his game as he prepares for Brazil.

“I know some people might look at it as a risk, but I’m ready for this,” the Sunderland forward said. “I’m not worried about a lack of game time. There will be plenty of opportunities for me to impress. Of course, I need to take" advantage of the opportunities.

“The World Cup is about a year away and in that time the Premier League will make me a better player. By the time Brazil comes round I’ll know things I don’t know right now. I was ready to make the next step in my career, and this is it.”

Altidore has previous experience of playing in the English top flight, having been signed by Hull City on loan in 2009. However, the then-19-year-old looked out of his depth at times, and retreated to parent club Villarreal within a season.

“It was a culture shock and it perhaps came too soon for me," Altidore acknowledged. "You need to remember I was only a young boy when I played in the Premier League first time round. Now it’s a different scenario.

“I’m definitely better equipped to deal with English football now and the U.S. national team has played a part in that. I’ve learned a lot at international level.

He wouldn't go back and change anything, however.

“I don’t regret going to the Premier League at that age," Altdiore explained. "It was good to get to know the league and to see what standard I need to lift myself to. A lot of good strikers have made the jump from Holland to England, so there’s an example for me to follow. I need to start scoring goals as soon as possible.”

With his Sunderland teammates preparing for the start of the new Premier League season—the action starts this weekend—Altidore could be forgiven for feeling frustrated at the timing of the Bosnia friendly. Yet his focus remains entirely on the U.S. national team.

“Calendar-wise it’s difficult and I’m not sure why it’s like this, but you make the best of it. There’s never a bad time to represent your country and I’ll always enjoy playing for the U.S.,” he said.

“Personally I want to pick up where I left off" in World Cup qualifying, scoring three goals in three consecutive matches. "Some of the guys are still in pre-season, which is a bit of a negative, but for me I still feel I can put in a good performance."

"My aim is always to score. It doesn’t matter how the schedule looks.”

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