They may be playing each other on Friday, but their relationship remains friendly – just like the upcoming match between the United States and Scotland.
Fellow Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher has offered up big support for Jozy Altidore, whose Premier League goal tally with his new club remains on the goose egg.
But according to Fletcher, Jozy’s contribution to the Black Cats has much more to it than just a number.
“He has done really well since he joined the club” said the 26-year-old Scot. “He has really put himself about on the pitch and his work rate is amazing. I think you have to look at everything he has brought to the club and not look at him purely in terms of goals.”
Fletcher even gave specific examples, always a good idea when putting together a well thought-out argument.
“He set up both goals against Southampton as well as the winner against Newcastle and there is no way anyone should be complaining. He is a 100 per cent committed player every time and the goals will definitely come. Jozy has settled in really well and he has been doing a fantastic job at the club. He is the sort of player who you know every time he goes on the pitch will give everything and that’s the sort of player we need right now.”
Perhaps the biggest compliment, however, came when Fletcher not only backed his teammate, but said any club would jump at the chance to grab a player of Jozy’s commitment level and work rate.
“In fact, it’s the sort of player every club needs” continued Fletcher. “Jozy will want to score a few more goals as all strikers do, but they will come. The important thing is he is contributing and in his last few games he has been one of our best and most consistent players. His attitude is first class and that’s one of the reasons why he has been such a success at both club and international level. His goalscoring record for USA is incredible and that shows what a fine player he is.”
Those are some fine words from Jozy’s teammate/opponent. They may be rival goalscorers on Friday, but int he dressing room, it’s clear the Sunderland players value the American’s presence and appreciate what he brings to the pitch.
Oh, and Fletcher finds the American’s stature a bit imposing as well. “I think I will bounce off Jozy if I go anywhere near him. Have you seen the size of the lad?”