JOZY Altidore believes he will still be a Sunderland striker next season - because Gus Poyet has faith in him.
The American forward is currently involved in preparations for this summer’s World Cup finals on the back of a woeful debut season for the Black Cats.
The £6m signing from AZ Alkmaar last summer was expected to have a big impact on Wearside after scoring 23 goals in 33 games for the Dutch outfit
But Altidore scored just one Premier League goal in 31 appearances and was left out of the starting XI for the final two months of the campaign, prompting speculation over this future at the club.
The 24-year-old though has revealed Poyet spoke to him at the end of the season, and offered him support for next year.
Altidore said:“You are going to go through tough times and in a career in soccer, a lot of it is mental.
“You have to stay strong at the tough moments because there are going to be a lot of them.
“Poyet said, ‘I know it didn’t go well for you, but I believe in you and I want to see you back here,’.
“So it was positive.”
Although his season at Sunderland has been one to forget, his poor form has not impacted on his international chances, where his goal-scoring ratio in recent years is impressive.
As it is, he will be Sunderland’s sole representative at the World Cup finals, with Emanuele Giacherrini having been dropped from the Italy squad.
Currently part of the 30-man provisional squad, he is expected to be part of USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann final selection for the tournament, in which they will face Germany, Portugal and Ghana in Group G.
At the finals itself, Altidore is hoping to put a troubled Premier League campaign behind him.
“It was tricky but it was also good to sit back and see what I could do better,” he said, reflecting on the season.
“I feel like I improved, even though I wasn’t in the team.
“The bigger picture is we stayed up in the Premier League.
“When it comes to the World Cup, the season is behind you and all that matters is what you do going forward.”