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Altidore takes nothing for granted
by Paul Kennedy, February 26th, 2010 1:30AM

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TAGS:  americans abroad, england, men's national team, world cup

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[WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN] About the only sure thing in the U.S. attack is that Jozy Altidore will be one of the strikers at the World Cup in South Africa. But he isn't taking anything for granted. Nor is he counting out his friend, the injured Charlie Davies.

"If I am selected," Altidore said in a satellite television interview with reporters on adidas World Cup Media Day, "it's going to be a dream come true."

Altidore is on loan from Spanish club Villarreal to Hull City in England, where he played well in the last month and scored his first Premier League goal. He hopes what he's learned with Hull City will benefit the national team and his future club career:

"The one thing in England is you don't have much time on the ball. It's a very fast-paced league, it's very physical. The work ethic is high. The best players work hard. Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney are products of the English league."

Altidore isn't assuming anything.

"I view myself as a player who has a chance," he said. "The worst thing you can do before the World Cup is get complacent."

Asked to pick who he wanted to be teamed with up front -- he ticked off the names of the four forwards who played in Wednesday's friendly against El Salvador -- Brian Ching, Conor Casey, Jeff Cunningham and Ryan Findley -- and said they were all good forwards, but he added that he wasn't counting out Davies, who has returned to France four months after being seriously injured in a car accident that took the life of another person.

"He's a courageous kid," said Altidore. "I'm very optimistic. I hope he will be back. I believe he will be back."

Altidore says he's matured playing in England.

"It's a man's league," he said. "It's not an easy league to play in at all." (He rated Manchester United's Wes Brown and Nemanja Vidic as the toughest central pairing he's faced.)

Altidore doesn't know where he'll be next season, but he admits he likes England.

"It's the closest thing to the lifestyle that I'm used to," he said.

Off the field, he'd just wish the hoopla about the June 12 World Cup match between England and USA would end.

Asked if he hears about the matchup, Altidore responded, "Every day."

"Some days I just turn it off," he added. "The English people have a lot of expectations for their team. They go over every matchup, every position. They're excited about it. They'll be ready for it."



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