Jozy Atlidore’s desperate season at Sunderland is getting worse. Is that even possible?
On Monday against Tottenham Hotspur, Altidore was not included in Gus Poyet’s 18-man match day squad as the American forward’s dismal season has hit a new low.
Altidore is playing for Sunderland against Tottenham on Monday… but for their U-21 side at the Stadium of Light.
Last time out the 23-year-old U.S. international striker was named on the Black Cats’ bench against West Ham, but didn’t make an appearance. So far this season Altidore has made 36 appearances in all competitions but has scored just twice, with his last goal coming on December 4 against Chelsea.
Update: After speaking with Sunderland manager Gus Poyet following the 5-1 defeat to Spurs, the Uruguayan told me “It was my decision… just my decision” when I asked him why Altidore had been excluded from the 18-man squad. He was miffed, understandably so after a heavy defeat, but brushed aside other questions on Altidore.
With the World Cup on the horizon, Altidore’s worrying decline in the Premier League continues to concern U.S. national team fans. After a season full of struggle and torment, jumping on and off the bench and now being left off it altogether, has Altidore got a future with relegation haunted Sunderland? He needs a move to reignite his career, as the USA’s main man up top needs to be playing regularly.
Even if the Mackems managed to stay in the top-flight this season, expect Altidore to be on the move from the Stadium of Light if this continues. Poyet’s flippant attitude towards Altidore’s exclusion from the first-team squad, and his subsequent demotion to the U-21 side, shows exactly where the U.S. striker is at with the Sunderland boss.
Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.
The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.
The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.
Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.
Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.
As soon as Brendan Rodgers was dismissed by Liverpool on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s name was tossed around as the likely successor to the then-vacant Liverpool managerial position.
However, according to Klopp’s representatve Marc Kosicke, Liverpool did not make contact with the German until after Rodgers had been officially let go.
“The first call from Liverpool came after the dismissal as coach of Rodgers,” Kosicke told Bild. “Before Liverpool there were naturally quite a few inquiries. But Jurgen always asked me not to take it any further.”
Club management was less committal than Klopp’s rep, but did say they had their eye on the German for some time. “We have learned to keep certain matters confidential. We had a meeting recently with Jurgen that he has talked about and I don’t want to talk too much about these conversations. But we have thought about him for a long time and everyone who knows football knows he is an outstanding manager.”
It’s relatively hard to believe Liverpool would have canned Rodgers without knowing for sure that a top-level target such as Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti were on board to replace him. It also would mean discussions of the contract terms and logistics would have moved at lightning speed, with just four days between the Rodgers dismissal and Klopp’s official unveiling.