Such an honor to captain this team tonight! Well done to all the boys and thanks to the US fans who made us feel at home!! #USMNT— Jozy Altidore (@JozyAltidore) September 3, 2014
Sunderland striker Jozy Altdiore has taken to Twitter to express his honour at captaining the US national team for the first time in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over the Czech Republic.
Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann had named an experimental squad for the friendly, including six uncapped players, with goalkeeper Nick Rimando the lone MLS representative due to the league’s lack of an international break.
With usual skipper Clint Dempsey staying with the Seattle Sounders, therefore, that made the 71-times capped Altidore by far the most experienced figure on a youthful roster, and prompted the German boss to hand him the armband for the matchup in Prague.
It was a move which underlines the 24-year-old’s importance to the US setup – something easy to forget while his struggles with the Black Cats continue.
Brought by Paolo Di Canio last summer for around £6 million, after scoring for fun with Eredivisie's AZ Alkmaar, Altidore would go on to net just once in 30 Premier League games during the 2013-14 campaign, while being widely derided by fans for his ineptitude in front of goal.
Dropped from the side by the newly-arrived Gus Poyet for the crucial final run-in, as the Black Cats staged a dramatic escape from relegation, the former New York Red Bulls striker is still to make a Premier League start this season, and questions are already being asked about his future in the north east.
Nevertheless, he impressed with his physical hold-up play in the 90-minute friendly outing, and one would hope the experience of being in a leadership role can be used as motivation to push for a starting spot when he returns to the Stadium Light.