clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Striker Expecting Sunderland Stay

No, not that one. Okay, not that one either. The other one...

Chris Brunskill


Jozy Altidore is not thinking about bringing his Sunderland career to an end has vowed to come back to Wearside and 'hit the ground running' after the World Cup.

The striker was prolific in the Eredivisie with AZ Alkmaar before moving back to the Premier League, but has endured a barren season in front of goal. It's a record he aims to put right next season.

Altidore told ESPN:

Absolutely [I'll return to Sunderland in the summer]. I'm looking forward to next season.

For me it'll be a fun challenge. I'm looking forward to getting back there next season and hitting the ground running from the first game on.

I believe in myself. You're going to go through tough times. It can't be that every season you have a blinder. The biggest thing is how you respond to that.

In a really strange kind of a way, Altidore has become a bit of a cult hero at Sunderland. You'd be tempted to call it pity, but it isn't. I think there is a genuine appreciation that he has stuck at it and played his part. He has endeared himself - somehow - to the fans and they now genuinely root for him.

It has been bizarre and almost Nosworthy-esque.

Despite struggling to find the net, Altidore did contribute a little. Without him getting us back into the game against MK Dons or setting up the winner against Southampton, it is unlikely that there would have been a visit to Wembley this season.

He also won the penalty for the winner at Chelsea, which was possibly the single most important moment of the whole season. I mean, you wouldn't say he's had a successful season by any stretch of the imagination, but he hasn't totally Lillian Laslanded either.

What does Altidore put this season's remarkable survival down to, though? Well, 'soccer'. That and Gus Poyet actually liking joy.

At Alkmaar we played a certain system. It's fair to say that here we didn't have anything here until Gus came in.

I think if you look at those five or six games [at the end of the season] we created a lot of chances and scored a lot of goals and we were confident. We didn't just give the ball back to the other team, we made them defend.

I know it sounds simple, but we played soccer.

Can't really argue with that.

Whether Sunderland are as keen on keeping Altidore as he apparently is on sticking around remains to be seen, but I hope Poyet and co persist with him. I still think there is a player in there and players coming from abroad often take a year to really find their feet.

What happens this summer, however, looks just about impossible to predict right now.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Roker Report Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Sunderland news from Roker Report