Jozy Altidore fears subside as Sunderland forward nears comeback

Sunderland have been boosted by news that Jozy Altidore's hamstring injury is not as serious as first feared

Jozy Altidore
Jozy Altidore

Sunderland's injury concern over Jozy Altidore abated last night after Jurgen Klinsmann revealed the USA striker is likely to be available for selection should his country reach the World Cup knockout stages.

The Black Cats forward strained his left hamstring muscle just 23 minutes into his nation’s 2-1 Group G win over Ghana nine days ago.

Initial fears were a serious tear would rule him out of the rest of the tournament and belated pre-season training back at the Academy of Light.

He did miss the US’ subsequent clash with Portugal – a 2-2 draw – on Sunday and will not figure in tomorrow’s tie against group leaders Germany, when victory or a draw will ensure progress to the last 16 of the competition irrespective of the outcome of the match between Ghana and Portugal.


However, results of an MRI scan on Altidore’s injury and the effect of intensive physiotherapy have allayed anxiety over a long-term problem.

Asked about Altidore’s potential availability beyond tomorrow’s game against his fellow countrymen, after which the US could face one from Belgium, Algeria, Russia or South Korea next Monday or Tuesday, USA coach Klinsmann said: “Jozy is recovering really well.

“The game against Germany comes still too early for him.

“However, once this game is done successfully we will have a good chance to have him back on the team again.”

That will come as blessed relief to Gus Poyet, who is expected to return to Wearside imminently after ending his stint as a studio guest for ITV’s World Cup coverage following Monday’s group matches between Cameroon and Brazil, Croatia and Mexico, Australia and Spain and Holland and Chile.

Alex Livesey/Getty Images Gus Poyet, head coach of Sunderland AFC
Gus Poyet, head coach of Sunderland AFC

Altidore scored just two goals in 39 appearances for Sunderland last season, following a £6.5 million move from AZ Alkmaar.

Yet he remains highly rated in his homeland, where one American media outlet described him as “one of (Klinsmann’s) top goal-scoring threats”.

Though he has yet to prove himself at the Stadium of Light, Poyet has faith in the 6ft 1in, 11 stone striker’s potential for leading the line.

While in the equally-unproven Danny Graham and Ignacio Scocco, injury-ravaged Steven Fletcher and the still-raw Connor Wickham, Sunderland are not overrun with quality forwards.

Fabio Borini, who scored 10 goals on loan from Liverpool last season, seems unlikely to return to Wearside next term and though Sunderland have been linked with a host of players already this summer few have been forwards.

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