ALTIDORE READY TO FOCUS ON THE FUTURE
Following his red card and subsequent suspension for the remainder of the 2009-2010 English Premier League season for head-butting Sunderland defender Alan Hutton, Jozy Altidore says he is ready to move forward and solely focus on the World Cup.
The incident occurred in the 50th minute of Hull's 0-1 defeat to Sunderland which all but sentenced the Tigers to relegation.
Altidore has since publicly apologized for the incident and was clearly regretful towards the Hull faithful.
"I'm so sorry about [Saturday]," Altidore stated. "[I] made a stupid, immature and costly mistake. I apologize to HullCity and the fans who I let down. I let my emotions get the best of me and lost my composure. Believe it or not this year playing for Hull was to date the best trip I've ever been on."
The US international had been loaned to the Tigers from Spanish club Villarreal who wanted to see the young US international get some more playing time under his belt.
But Altidore scored just two goals in all competitions this year, totals that the striker knows were far fewer than many had expected.
"I was hunting for playing time so I was happy that I did get so much playing time this season," Altidore told YA. "I got some good experience and learned a lot of little things when it comes to training and conditioning. But there were things I could have done better like scoring more goals. Not getting as many goals as I would have liked was really tough."
As for the immediate future, it is uncertain what is in store for the New Jersey native who does admit that he would welcome a return back to playing his home matches at Estadio El Madrigal.
"I want to contribute at Villarreal," Altidore said of his parent club. "If the coaches want me there, then I'll be there."
Now that his season has abruptly ended, the US international says he is turning his thoughts to this summer's World Cup where he hopes to lead the US national team into the knockout round.
"I'm not really thinking about anything else right now," he added. "I can't help but feel excited. The first game against England will set the tone so it's important that we put on a good performance."
Various media outlets in the United Kingdom have previously quoted Altidore as saying that the US is not scared of England and that the Red, White and Blue are confident that a result can be had against Fabio Capello's squad.
However the former New York Red Bull also contends that the US holds the Three Lions in high regard and will have to bring their A-game when they line up on June 12th.
"I have a lot of respect for England," Altidore noted. "Alot of the publications are untrue in what I've actually said so now I'm just putting my head down and going about my business to get ready to play them."
It will be a welcomed sight for Altidore to see his USMNT teammates for the pre-roster selection camp in New Jersey next month.
The 20 year old enjoys the unity among the players and feels that the bulk of the credit for the team's cohesiveness is due to head coach Bob Bradley.
"Bob does a good job in helping our mindset," the striker said of the national team coach. "It starts with him and then works its way down to the players. It's a credit to him and the rest of the coaching staff. All of the players get along and there is no drama. We all fight for each other."
One of Altidore's closest friends on the USMNT is Charlie Davies who is in the last legs of a miraculous recovery from an October auto accident which nearly ended Davies' career.
The two forwards combined to wreak havoc in last summer's Confederations Cup and now Altidore is euphoric that his strike partner may be able to rejoun him on the field in South Africa.
"I would love for Charlie to be on the squad," continued Altidore. "I am so excited about his progress. He really transformed his game in such a short period of time and you have to love seeing a person like him do well. He's a great player, a great kid and a great friend."
In addition to the career-threatening injuries suffered by his friend, tragedy struck the entire Altidore family when a devastating earthquake struck Haiti in January.
The Haitian-American player had to wait anxiously on the status of friends and family in Port-Du-Prince which was the epicenter of the horrifying disaster.
Fortunately for Altidore and the rest of his family, all relatives emerged unharmed and now are taking precautions to avoid any future natural disasters on the tiny island.
"My family is alright thank God," concluded a relieved Altidore. "We are now trying to get those members of my family moved to the [US]. My mom is not as worried and that is a great thing."
Altidore and the rest of the USMNT will convene for World Cup pre-selection camp on May 15th at Princeton University