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United States getting needed 'injection of life' with young players - Jozy Altidore

Jozy Altidore looks ahead to Toronto FC's push for the playoffs and discusses the youth movement on the USMNT.

Jozy Altidore believes the current youth movement in the United States team following its failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup was long overdue.

The likes of Timothy Weah, Josh Sargent and Weston McKennie, among others, have emerged in the team's friendlies since a 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago saw the U.S. miss out on the tournament in Russia.

And Altidore told ESPN he was impressed by some of the new faces, while adding that it had been too long since the team had an "injection of life."

"What [the team] is doing now, I think is great," and Altidore said on SportsCenter. "In terms of brining in a lot of new young players, young faces. We just need some energy, we need a boost into the program. 

"I think it's been the longest time I've seen where we went like 10 years and we didn't have any new blood, any new injections into the team. In any sport there needs to be a turnover, there needs to be an injection of life, so to speak. 

"I'm sure the federation is addressing that. We have a lot of up-and-coming young players. Look, I think the future is bright, [missing the Word Cup] was a big disappointment for everybody. But I think sometimes you have to take steps backward to step forward."

Asked if he still saw a future for himself with the national team, Altidore, 28, said: "It's never been about me, the national team is never just about one player. It's not about me, it's not about any one individual. 

"It's a pleasure, it's an honor and if the opportunity arises of course I want to be a part of the national team and play for my country."

Altidore is still working his way back to fitness with club side Toronto FC after foot surgery at the beginning of May, with his injury just one of many the defending MLS Cup champions have dealt with in 2018, a year that began with a run all the way to the CONCACAF Champions League final.

Toronto is ninth in the Eastern Conference, six points out of the playoff places with 11 games to play at the moment, but Altidore said the team is close to being full strength and fully focused on making the postseason.

"We didn't start the season as effective and as energetic as we would have wanted," Altidore said. "But they don't give out trophies in March and to be in the position we are in the table right now, with games in hand, I think everyone is excited about where we are at right now.

"What we did last year was something special. Everybody is getting healthy here right now and it's a long stretch now to the playoffs, but we're excited and confident we can get back."

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