Why Jurgen Klinsmann could hold the key to Sunderland striker’s woes

Jozy Altidore has struggled at the Stadium of Light but Jurgen Klinsmann’s no-nonsense attitude to the US national team could help kick-start his season.

Team USA manager Jurgen Klinsmann could have an important role to play in Jozy Altidore's Premier League future, after injury curtailed the 24-year-old's impact at the World Cup.

Signed by the Black Cats for an undisclosed fee thought to be in the region of £8 million, big things were expected of the American following a successful stint in Holland with AZ Alkmaar.

Altidore netted 39 goals in 67 games over two years for the Eredivisie side but it proved to be a different story upon his arrival in the English top-flight with just one league goal to his name from 30 appearances last term.

But while the American has struggled domestically, when it comes to international duty he has continued to thrive with ten goals in 19 appearances for Team USA over the last few years.

And though Altidore may be facing a different level of opposition on international duty, his work for the national team could prove crucial to resurrecting his Sunderland career.

Relegated to a bit part role at the Stadium of Light so far this season, the striker has nevertheless been named temporary Team USA captain in the absence of Clint Dempsey.

With a show of faith from manager Jurgen Klinsmann, the captain's armband could help restore some of Altidore’s confidence ahead of a make-or-break campaign at club level. While the offer of the captaincy appears to be an example of the German coach using the carrot to encourage and coax Altidore out of any potential crisis of confidence, Klinsmann isn’t afraid of using the stick either.

Keen for his players to be featuring regularly for their respective first teams, the World Cup legend has never hesitated in dropping anyone struggling for game-time, as the likes of national team legend Steve Cherundolo attest, after being dropped after losing his place at Hannover 96.

Reputations count for very little with the German and with Landon Donovan previously falling foul of the Team USA boss, Altidore is expected to take the confidence and composure he shows on national team duty through to his club form – or face the consequences.

Fail to find the net regularly in the Premier League and a move away could even beckon, with young striker Julian Green already leaving Bayern Munich for Hamburg on loan and the chance to play more regularly.

In either instance, when it comes to Altidore, Klinsmann could have a major role to play.

Here's a video of Altidore in action for the USMNT - how can Sunderland get him scoring?

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