Sunderland striker sure goals will flow

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JOZY ALTIDORE is confident he can replicate his Eredivisie scoring feats on his Premier League return.

American striker Altidore netted 31 times for Dutch side AZ Alkmaar last season to persuade Sunderland to splash out £6million for his signature last month.

The 23-year-old believes he developed into a polished performer during his two seasons in the Netherlands after netting just once in 28 appearances as a teenager for Hull City in his previous experience of Premier League football.

And although Altidore realises there is a gulf between the Dutch and English leagues, he is relishing the prospect of leading Sunderland’s line next season.

Altidore told the Echo: “I’m very excited to be back in the Premier League.

“I’m delighted to have this opportunity and I just can’t wait for the league to get started.

“I think I just became a better player in Holland, than the one when I was at Hull.

“On and off-the-ball and linking up with the players around me, I just got better. It’s that simple.

“I’ve become a much more confident player since then.

“The two leagues are completely different, but we’re trying to play football which looks good and hopefully I can score some goals.”

Altidore is one of eight signings added to the first-team squad by Paolo Di Canio, with the Sunderland head coach hoping to add another three.

Florida-born Altidore says such an influx of fresh faces has been challenging, but has been impressed by the way they have been integrated into the fold.

“It’s been difficult with bringing so many players in,” he said.

“But we’ve been working on a lot of different things. There’s a great bunch of guys here.

“(Emanuele) Giaccherini is a very good player and Cabral has been doing some good things.

“We’re all committed to having good times this season.”

Altidore started both of last week’s Barclays Asia Trophy encounters, in Hong Kong, alongside Stephane Sessegnon and the duo look likely to start the Premier League campaign up front together.

But with Steven Fletcher on the way back from injury and both Connnor Wickham and Ji Dong-won in reserve, Altidore is impressed by the range of striking options that Di Canio can call upon.

Altidore added: “Sessegnon is a top, top player. There’s no doubt about it.

“And Connor is a very good player too.

“I think we have a lot of good options there and hopefully Fletcher will be fit soon too.”