Gus Poyet has questioned whether or not Jozy Altidore can make his Sunderland spell work.
The American will go to the World Cup in the summer as a key player for his country and has played the most minutes of any of Sunderland's strikers this season, though it has yielded just one goal.
Now Poyet is wondering if Altidore's time in the north east is simply destined for failure. He told told reporters:
Maybe he is playing a different way for the national team. I went to see him against Scotland and I didn’t see any difference. It was 0-0.
Look, I had a good record with Chelsea and a rubbish record with Uruguay. I was the same player, same boots, same everything, but it didn’t work for me. Maybe this is the opposite case. I understand why.
We are all different. [Look at] Steven Pienaar. I absolutely love him from Everton. He went to Spurs and it didn’t work. He went back and he was unbelievable.
Can he only play for Everton? No, come on, but it didn’t work for him. Why? Who knows. You don’t know. It’s the way you play, the way he understands the players around him.
It's tough to know if Poyet is just trying to light a bit of a fire under Altidore or whether he is genuinely giving up on him a bit. I'd like to think it's the former but you can't just go on forever hoping something works out.
Interestingly, Altidore actually has the best shot accuracy of Sunderland's strikers this season, as well as creating far more chances for team mates than any of the other options at Poyet's disposal. He has also been quite effective in the Carling Cup run too, it would be fair to say. There is something there in my opinion, though it looks to be buried fairly deep right now.
But time doesn't look like it's on his side if he is going to dig it out and you can see his opportunity slipping away from him. Without a real impact in the last quarter of the season, my money would be on a post-World Cup move to the Bundesliga for Altidore, where he will probably do quite well.