USA boss Jurgen Klinsmann says Jozy Altidore will emerge as a stronger character from his Sunderland goal drought.
Summer signing Altidore is yet to find the net in the Premier League for Sunderland, with his only Black Cats goal coming in August’s Capital One Cup victory over League One MK Dons.
Klinsmann was at the Stadium of Light on Sunday to watch Altidore in the flesh, although the 24-year-old was restricted to a substitute’s outing for the last 15 minutes after head coach Gus Poyet opted for Steven Fletcher as his lone striker.
The two Sunderland frontmen are expected to go head-to-head on Friday night, with Scotland hosting the USA at Hampden Park.
But former Germany striker Klinsmann is not concerned by Altidore’s lean spell, particularly as the £6million arrival has been in prolific form for his country after setting a national team record of scoring in five consecutive internationals earlier this season.
“We are very satisfied with the way things are going with Jozy even with him being in a tough situation right now,” said Klinsmann.
“The Premier League started and he hasn’t scored yet. Sunderland are a new club for him. It’s a big club and the way they were playing their game, he was not getting many opportunities to score.
“So I went there myself, watched it myself and have proof of what I saw before when I watched it on TV. It’s really difficult for Jozy, but this is also what he needs to go through.
“He has a very positive attitude and has come a long way already in his young career and will get stronger.
“I told him, ‘You will score your goals sooner or later’ if you have that mentality that you develop now, if you have that drive to get through those periods where you haven’t scored, which for a striker is always the most important thing.
“But he has also had a tremendous 2013 scoring goals for us in World Cup qualifying, scoring big, crucial goals for us in friendlies as well.
“He’s really matured a lot over the last year and deserves a huge compliment.”
Klinsmann hopes Sunderland’s upturn in results under Poyet will boost Altidore’s domestic fortunes too, with the Black Cats winning three of their last four games.
“Now we need to give him patience and I think the club has done that very well bringing him through that stretch,” added ex-Tottenham man Klinsmann.
“Hopefully for Sunderland, he starts to score more goals.
“They will produce chances and eventually he will score.”