Forgotten Premier League Footballers: Jozy Altidore

Here at The Footy Gang, we love writing about the English Premier League. Recently we have spoken about Jermaine Pennant's eventful spell at Billericay under owner Glenn Tamplin. In this article, we will be discussing a former Premier League footballer, that many of you may have forgotten even played in the Premier League. This player has been capped over 100 times by his national side and has scored an impressive 42 international goals. However, in his time in the Premier League, this player only managed 2 goals in 70 matches (yes, seventy!). The man that we will be discussing is former Sunderland and Hull City striker Jozy Altidore, currently plying his for Major League Soccer side Toronto FC.

The following article is a guest post and has been written by Magnus Dear, an avid supporter of American football (soccer), particularly the MLS. The Footy Gang previously wrote about 10 former Premier League stars now playing in America. This would be of great interest to any English Premier League or Major League Soccer football fan.

Jozy Altidore is one of America's most prestigious football players, making his 100th cap for his country at the age of 27, a feat only beaten by former LA Galaxy and Everton midfielder Landon Donovan. Donovon, now manager of San Diego, has recently been applauded for his stance against homophobia in football.

As of recent months, the discussion of whether or not striker Jozy Altidore deserves a spot on the United States National Team is a hot topic that has plagued Twitter debates for the past few months.

With a career riddled with injuries and constant setbacks, Altidore hasn’t appeared in the national team in over 20 months. With a young influx of talent such as Josh Sargent and Matthew Hoppe, it makes every US soccer fan ponder: does Altidore deserve an opportunity?

Aged 31, Altidore, the former Sunderland striker is currently playing with Toronto FC in the MLS and in 2019 signed a 3-year contract extension which has him locked down until 2022. However, in the past 2020 campaign, Altidore only started 10 games and tallying a lacklustre 2 goals. With stats like this, it is easy for one to dismiss Jozy completely with the mindset that if Altidore is not able to dominate in the MLS, he surely does not deserve a call-up to the national team. However, we cannot forget the service Altidore has provided for the national team in the past decade.

Currently, Jozy Altidore is the third top goal scorer for the United States raking up a whopping 42 goals in 115 caps. In his debut on February 6th, 2008, Jozy Altidore scored, setting the tone for what would be a legacy all US fans will remember. Altidore has scored key goals in games such as the United States 2-0 victory over Spain and in the US’s 2-1 Gold Cup Final win over Jamaica. In 2009, 19-year-old Jozy Altidore made US history becoming the youngest player to ever record a hat-trick, doing so against Trinidad & Tobago. With statistics and key goals like these, it is hard to oversee the fact that Jozy Altidore has proven to be a key goalscorer when the team needs him most.

“In MLS and U.S. soccer, we love to call players like myself old. But if you look in Europe, some of the very best performers are older than me. And so, I just think that’s a very MLS and kind of a U.S. journalist’s mentality, this notion that I’m all of a sudden old, when [Robert] Lewandowski is 30-something.”: Jozy Altidore.

But is Jozy Altidore rebuttal to critics valid? After all, Altidore is struggling in a sub-par MLS league with only a limited amount of time left in his career.

With World Cup Qualifiers and the Gold Cup around the corner, US head coach Gregg Berhalter has a difficult decision ahead of him.

With Matthew Hoppe balling out with Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga and players like Josh Sargent and Barnsley striker Daryl Dike beginning to find their form across the pond, is it time to see a change in the striking position?

Altidore has previously spoken strongly about his outrage at UEFA not clamping down on racism. In the Premier League, players and staff are currently 'taking the knee' before each game, in support of the 'Black Lives Matter Campaign'.

Personally, here at The Footy Gang we believe Jozy Altidore should be given the opportunity to prove himself in the upcoming International friendlies against Jamaica and Northern Ireland later this month. If Jozy can prove to Berhalter that he is still capable of providing for the national team, we believe he deserves to have a spot on the team during World Cup Qualifiers.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, head over to our Twitter @TheFootyGang and let us know. This article was written by a guest author. If you want to write for The Footy Gang, whether that be to promote your football podcast, your YouTube channel or just love writing about Premier League football, then please get in touch.

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