Jozy Altidore liked the few sips he took from the golden chalice that is Premier League soccer in 2009-10. He returns to the adults’ table, having signed with Sunderland on Tuesday, ready to grab the cup and drink the whole thing.
Altidore joins Sunderland from AZ Alkmaar after two successful seasons at the Dutch club. He was a regular starter there, playing 93 games in all competitions. His fitness, sharpness, positioning and awareness levels grew in the Dutch game, and his impressive goal-scoring tally, 51, is a mere byproduct of his overall improvement as a player.
While his AZ output is a fair reflection of his ability and potential, it was the strides he has taken — both as a man and as a professional — that convinced Sunderland to spend £6 million ($9 million) on him. Altidore must lean on that maturity as he looks to earn the trust of new manager Paolo Di Canio and establish himself in the Premier League at this pivotal point in his career.
Making the jump from the Dutch Ered...