Di Canio backing Altidore to shine
Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio believes there is "no risk" in affording Jozy Altidore a second chance in the Premier League.
Altidore, 23, who joined the Wearsiders this summer from AZ Alkmaar, previously played in England’s top flight with Hull City, but found the net just once while on loan from Villarreal in the 2009-10 campaign.
However, Di Canio feels this season will see the striker, who hit a hat-trick for the United States during their 4-3 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina on Wednesday, reach double figures for Sunderland.
“I don’t hope he will be a success -- I am sure he will be a success. With his characteristics he will score many goals,” Di Canio told the Journal. “He can play very well for the team and can score lots of goals. His main part is to score goals and to help the others.
"He is a modern footballer, like you saw last night. He can make lovely movements and we expect that he will score many goals for us. I don’t know a number, but it won’t be two obviously.
“Maybe 15 or 17. He will do it if he uses his energy like he did for the national team. He has desire and pride, and I think this environment here will help him. We spent a good amount of money on him, he was not a free transfer. We brought in four or five players and a few free agents but three or four specifically we had to spend on.”
Altidore has been keen to stress how much he has developed and matured since his time in East Yorkshire -- a view his manager also shares.
Di Canio said that the United States international would not have registered his 31-goal tally for AZ last season if he did not have the required quality.
“We could have been lucky, gone to South America and got a free transfer [but we didn’t],” he said. “This is a player who did not have a fantastic experience three years ago at Hull, but he was young and in which environment? We don’t know. It wasn’t top level, but he left, grew up and went around Europe. He finished last year with a very good goals tally in a different league. But you don’t score those number of goals if you are not quality.
“He is the kind of quality I need. He is the size I need. He is a modern footballer, he jumps hard and he is an animal. He attacks every space and his first touch is good. He is fantastic finisher and that is a good mixture. We will play good football to help him to score and he is going to have a big part to play this year. All the signals that we have seen are positive and Wednesday night [for the United States] was an example.”