Friday, August 2, 2013

Improved Altidore ready for Premier League return

The USA international believes that he has grown as a player since his ill-fated loan spell at Hull City during 2009-10, during which he netted only once in 28 appearances.

Sunderland and U.S. national team striker Jozy Altidore think there is plenty reason to believe that his second go around in the Premier League will go better than his initial try.

The American forward spent the 2009-10 season on loan at Hull City, struggling to only one goal in 28 league appearances as the Tigers were relegated. His fortunes have changed in recent years, though, with the 23-year-old having 50 goals in all competitions for Eredivisie side AZ in the last two seasons, and Altidore feels that he returns to England an improved player.

"I think I just became a better player in Holland than the one when I was at Hull," Altidore told The Sunderland Echo. "On and off the ball and linking up with the players around me, I just got better. It's that simple. I've become a much more confident player since then."

Altidore is one of nine players signed by Paolo Di Canio so far this summer, as the Italian looks to improve on his side's 17th-place finish in the last campaign, and the striker believes that the firepower within the squad can ensure success at the Stadium of Light.

"[Stephane] Sessegnon is a top, top player. There's no doubt about it," Altidore said. "And Connor [Wickham] is a very good player too.

"I think we have a lot of good options there and hopefully [Steven] Fletcher will be fit soon too."