Sunderland star relishing big game atmosphere

Jozy Altidore
Jozy Altidore
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JOZY Altidore says the Barclays Asia Trophy next week will offer him an early reminder of the high-profile glitz and glamour of the Premier League.

And he admits he can’t wait for the new campaign to start for real.

Sunderland’s new signing agreed a £6m move from AZ Alkmaar earlier this month, believing he has matured during his time with AZ Alkmaar in Holland and is ready to make a success of his second stab at the league he believes to be the best in the world.

The 23-year-old (pictured) had a largely indifferent loan spell at Hull City as a teenager in the 2009-10 season.

But the American striker believes that this time around he can have a much bigger impact.

And he sees next week’s Asia Trophy, involving glamour Premier League sides Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, as well as local side South China FC, as the start of it all.

“It’s really exciting,” he said. “This is what every player dreams of, to go to places like that and play in front of a lot of people.

“We’ll be playing against good teams, too.

“I’m excited and I’m sure the guys are too – for this, and to get the season going.”

Altidore has of course already had his first outing in Sunderland colours, helping rout a local select XI 13-1 in Italy last week.

The American forward came on after half-time in the practice game, scoring a shot on the turn and also setting up Danny Graham for another goal as Paolo Di Canio’s men ran riot.

And although the opposition was far from strong by Premier League standards, Altidore said it was an enjoyable run-out.

“It doesn’t matter about the game, it’s always nice to score – especially on your first time out,” he said.

“It gives everybody confidence when you score in these types of games and there’s a positive feeling.

“Everyone is trying to get their legs back under them so these games are important to help you find a rhythm.”