Jozy Altidore discusses a potential Sunderland return and explains why he flopped in his Stadium of Light spell

Jozy Altidore has explained how his failure to deal with the scrutiny placed on Premier League footballers saw him flop at Sunderland – as he struggled to balance personal issues with his life as a top-flight footballer.

Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 12:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 12:57 pm

The American international joined the Black Cats in 2013 from Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, and went on to score just three goals in his eighteen months on Wearside – before joining Toronto in a swap deal that saw Jermain Defoe move the other way.

But speaking to the Footy Talks Podcast with Steven Caldwell, Altidore has now explained why things didn’t go to plan at the Stadium of Light.

“The team, we weren’t terrific,” he said.

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Former Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore

“I had a setback in life, and life wasn’t great, and that was the first dose of me understanding that one can’t be good without the other.

“I just wasn’t able to, as a person, deal with what I was going through as a person along with everything that being a professional footballer in England entails.

“People know what you’re doing, there are leaks when things are about to happen in your personal life, and I wasn’t equipped to deal with that.

“It’s sad because it was my dream move, but it was best I had to find a different challenge.

“It was better for both parties just to go away at that time.”

But the 30-year-old, who remains with Toronto today, still holds only fond memories of his spell in the North East.

Indeed, he admits he would ‘love’ to return to the club in some capacity in the future.

“Sunderland was fantastic.

“The fans are amazing, there is no club with better fans in England. Sunderland fans are up there, the away end is full, the stadium is full every Saturday. It feels like 80,000 at times, they’re that loud.

“I loved it, and I would love the opportunity to be part of that club again in any way.

“It’s a great club with great people, they love their football there.”