Jozy Altidore to sit out Sunderland's final match in Portugal

Jozy Altidore must wait until next week for his first pre-season action, which means he is unlikely to start Sunderland's Premier League opener

Jozy Altidore
Jozy Altidore

Jozy Altidore will not have his first taste of pre-season action until next week – meaning he is unlikely to be ready to start Sunderland’s Premier League opener at West Bromwich Albion.

Altidore suffered a torn hamstring playing for the USA in the World Cup in Brazil and, after being given an extended summer break due to his involvement in the tournament, flew to Portugal eight days ago to link up with the rest of Gus Poyet’s squad.

The 24-year-old has recovered from the injury and has been training with the group this week, but did not play in either of the Black Cats’ midweek friendlies on the Algarve.

Poyet has confirmed the striker will also miss tonight’s final game out in Portugal, which sees them take on Portuguese top-flight club Vitoria Setubal in Albufeira.

Altidore will be involved in Sunderland’s friendlies against Real Betis and Udinese in the North-East next week and will be fit for the beginning of the Premier League campaign.

Yet the fact he will have only resumed playing just over a week before the season starts means he is likely to have to settle for a substitute’s role at The Hawthorns, although Poyet says he can still make a valuable contribution from the bench.

“Jozy won’t play tonight,” said Poyet. “Next Thursday against Betis? Yes.

“The idea is to have him there for the start of the season.

“The last five or six games he played last season he was outstanding when he came on for the last half-hour.

“He gave us something which we really needed.

“If he needs to start the season like that, it’s not a problem.

“The idea is to get him ready for that half-an-hour at the beginning, maybe he can play in the cup. He knows that. He’s well aware of everything with the internationals.”

While Altidore will sit out today’s game, Vito Mannone will play his first game of the tour.

Youngster Joel Dixon played the first game against Recreativo de Huelva on Tuesday and new signing Costel Pantilimon played against CD Nacional on Wednesday.

However, Mannone will get his chance to impress against Vitoria Setubal as he competes with Pantilimon for the number onejersey.

“They will play one each for 90 minutes,” said Poyet.

“I like to have plenty of decisions to make. That’s why I became a manager.

“At the moment, I don’t have too many decisions apart from the goalkeepers.”


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