The former US international believes his compatriot was made to overwork in his forward role at the Stadium of Light.
Altidore, 25, scored just three goals in 53 total appearances during his 18-month Sunderland stint before returning to MLS in the winter to join Toronto FC in a swap deal for Jermain Defoe.
The powerful striker has shown he can find the back of the net in the past, boasting an impressive scoring record in Eredivisie with AZ Alkmaar and in international football with the US, but his Sunderland struggles saw him become a figure of ridicule among fans and the media.
Nevertheless, McBride, who netted 34 times in 149 Premier League games for Fulham between 2004 and 2008, still holds his compatriot in high regard and believes his main problem at the Stadium of Light was that the coaching staff made him into a workhorse istead of using him to his strengths.
“I still rate him highly,” said the ex-Fulham skipper. “I think he’s gone through this period where they tried to make him a workhorse so he didn’t drift out of games and from there it’s caused him to overwork sometimes.
“He’s got the ability to hold players off, he’s a good finisher and gets into good spots, so his overall growth has been good, but sometimes he just needs to drift off defenders rather than trying to battle them the whole time.”
Altidore also received criticism from US supporters earlier this week after getting sent off in the 68th-minute of the side’s 1-1 draw with Switzerland for swearing at the referee following a booking for a poor challenge.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s men were leading 1-0 at the time before being pegged back 12 minutes later and, having hampered his side’s chances of a confidence-boosting win in Zurich, McBride believes it shows that his striking successor still has a lot to learn.
“You get in those situations as a forward where you keep getting hit in the back, tackles come flying in and you don’t get the call and I think Jozy just lost his head,” McBride added.
“You’ve got to be able to control your anger. You can say what you want to say but don’t do it at the referee. I think this is now going to be a growing period for Jozy and another thing for him to take away and address.”