GUS POYET believes Jozy Altidore’s comments about considering his Sunderland future in January are “natural”.
Altidore admitted on international duty last week that may need to look to pastures new in the transfer window, if he continues to have a bit-part role at the Stadium of Light.
The American striker has not started a match in the Premier League since March, and has been an unused substitute for the last two games, despite breaking a nine-month goal drought in the Capital One Cup defeat to Stoke last month.
Altidore stressed how happy he is with life in general at Sunderland, but knows he needs to be playing regularly to keep his place in the USA set-up.
Poyet says that is understandable, but is not particularly concerned – stressing that the picture can change dramatically between now and January.
“Sometimes it sounds terrible, but I think it’s natural,” said Poyet.
“If a player is not playing, you are going to look at things.
“He didn’t say he wants to leave. He said he will have to see. That’s natural.
“The problem here is what happened to me (as a player). You go abroad and say something.
“About the future? I don’t know, it depends on him as well.
“I always say there are very few players here that I pick because of me.
“The rest pick themselves.
“The way (Steven) Fletcher trained before the Stoke game was so good, that he had to play.
“He proved that (by scoring twice) and now is in good form.
“I understand every single player wants to play and we need to see what happens.”
While both Fletcher and Connor Wickham appear to be ahead of Altidore in the pecking order, Poyet does believe the former AZ Alkmaar man is more of a goal threat than during last season’s miserable first season on Wearside, when he netted just one Premier League goal.
Poyet added: “I think he’s better than last year. He’s more calm and I think he’ll score more goals.
“Football sometimes is not fair on players.
“But, on specific positions, it’s simple.
“When a goalkeeper makes too many mistakes, they don’t play.
“Strikers can be the best player on the pitch every week, but if they don’t put it in the net, you’re going to have a problem, except if the team is winning.
“I think Jozy knows that.”