Does Jozy Altidore still have a future at Sunderland?

Sunderland Stadium of Light

After a difficult first season on Wearside, what does the future hold for Jozy Altidore? Will he wear the red and white of Sunderland again next campaign?

Jozy Altidore arrived at Sunderland last summer for an undisclosed fee, although the deal was thought to be in the region of around £6million. 

The then 23-year-old had already previously endured an unsuccessful loan spell in the Premier League at Hull City in 2008, but joined Sunderland in fine form on the back of a tremendous season at AZ Alkmaar where the striker had netted 23 league goals. 

However, goals were hard to come by in Altidore's first season at Sunderland - the American managed to notch only one single Premier League goal in 30 appearances for the Black Cats.

The USA international has come under heavy criticism for his poor goal return, but in truth, circumstances at the Stadium of Light haven't always suited the striker, and perhaps there is still more to come from the 24-year-old. 

Altidore was signed by former director of football Roberto De Fanti during the managerial tenure of Paolo Di Canio.

The forward was signed with the intention of playing a 4-4-2 formation, but with the departure of Di Canio just two months after Altidore arrived, Sunderland would eventually revert to playing with a lone striker under the stewardship of Gus Poyet

Without any real support, Altidore has struggled when handed the role as lone striker and, to be fair to the Sunderland man, he was not signed with this system in mind. 

Of course it can be argued that given Altidore's physical attributes he should be adept in playing alone up front, but the fact is that some strikers just aren't cut out for the role, and require support in order to flourish and find space to score goals. 

Whatever the reason for Alitdore's poor form, he appeared devoid of confidence all season long for the Black Cats: this is something which will need to be addressed fast if the striker is to have any future at the Stadium of Light. 

With Sunderland almost certain to miss out on bringing Fabio Borini back to the club following a prosperous loan spell, and the immediate future of Connor Wickham yet to be tied up, it may be that Altidore is very much needed on Wearside next season with options in the striking department currently looking scarce.

If Sunderland had intended to cash in on Altidore this summer, then the striker certainly failed to place himself in the shop window while on World Cup duty in Brazil. 

Altidore made just one appearance as injury prevented the 6ft1in forward from making any real impact on the tournament, with the USA eventually being despatched by Belgium in the first-round knockout stage. 

Poyet is unlikely to wane from his favoured 4-3-3 formation next season, which we have seen generally includes a solitary centre-forward and wide wingers, meaning that if Altidore is to become a rejuvenated character on Wearside, then he is going to have to adapt to the Uruguayan's style of play. 

There is no doubt that Altidore possesses the mental assets to be a success. The striker is committed to the club and although he has often found himself falling on hard times at Sunderland, he is looked upon fondly by large pockets of the fans for his efforts and is a popular figure in the dressing room. 

Poyet himself has spoken about his admiration for Altidore saying; "I’m quite relaxed with Jozy, to be honest. I’m one of the few. I know it’s difficult for a striker when he doesn’t score, but I like him. I like him. I like him as a boy and I like him as a player. He just couldn’t find the net. Sometimes it happens."

Luckily for the USA international, he has a proven goal-scoring record for the national team on his CV, and has proved his prowess in both MLS and in Eredivisie.

Sometimes it takes players time to adapt to the demands of England's top flight, but should Altidore be given one more chance at Sunderland next season he must deliver, or the striker will forever be known as a Premier League flop. 

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch