Gus Poyet, speaking ahead of Sunderland’s home clash against Manchester United this weekend, says that USA striker Jozy Altidore is the happiest he has seen him in his short tenure as the Black Cats’ coach. Altidore on Saturday made his first competitive appearance since injuring his hamstring against Ghana in the World Cup in June, coming on as a late substitute in the 2-2 opening day draw with West Brom. In an interview with the Sunderland Echo, Poyet admitted that the 24-year-old is still behind fellow strikers Steven Fletcher and Connor Wickham in terms of fitness, but he understands his current role and is happy with it.
"The idea is always to have options," the Uruguayan said. "We talk about Fletch and Connor, but I can say that I've never seen Jozy as happy as now. I've got no explanation for that. But he looks really happy and knows everything that is going to happen and why.”
He added: “I think last year, unfortunately for all of us, there were too many doubts because of the way we started. Now he knows where he's standing, knows he's started later and knows he cannot play 90 minutes right now. He knows the importance of maybe the last half-hour for us. Hopefully then we'll see the Jozy of the last five games [of last season]. That's great for us. He knows his role in the team for the next month."