Americans Abroad

Report: AZ coach cites lack of progress for Altidore's benching

Altidore AZ (Reuters)

If you have been wondering why Jozy Altidore has been relegated to the bench for AZ Alkmaar, it looks like you now have an answer.

According to a report from the Netherlands, AZ manager Gertjan Verbeek has preferred to start Charlison Benschop over Altidore in recent weeks due to Altidore's lack of progress. Verbeek has insisted that he does not dislike Altidore, but he feels the club plays better with Benschop spearheading the attack.

After signing a four-year deal with AZ last summer, Altidore worked his way into a starting role with the club and got off to a hot start, scoring five goals in his first five games with the club. The U.S. international has since scored six goals across all competitions, but he has been used as more of a reserve since the start of the new year.

AZ currently is tied on points with Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven, but Altidore's team sits in second due to goal differential.

What do you make of Verbeek's words? Worried? Do you see Altidore winning back his starting spot before the season ends?

Share your thoughts below.

  • daniel

    Adu tried that but his lazy *ss was benched in MLS too. Players of this caliber can not get by on skill alone. Johnson, Adu and Altidore have a very poor work ethics!


  • Thorpinski

    Coming bck to MLS would be a huge mistake. He needs to stay in Europe and continue to compete for PT.

    I know some coaches had opined on his training habits but based on his improved play I would not but him in the category as Adu or Johnson. Honestly without seeing him on a daily to weekly basis how can anyone truely know if he’s working hard or not.

    Maybe it’s me, but Jozy strikes me as a fairly mature person with a laid back personality which can be mistaking for ” lazy or carefree.”


  • marco

    When your best passer on attack is the central striker the problem is elsewhere. If AZ’s scoring is down, its not all Benchop or Jozy. Today Jozy was the best passer on attack. The wingers were rubbish. Jozy set up some nice opportunities and never received a decent pass even when wide open. He’ll do fine with Landon and Deuce.


  • Dinho

    Let’s not get carried away… “poor” soccer skills? Okay, he’s not the MOST skillful striker in the game, but his skills are hardly “poor”


  • The Imperative Voice

    The “work ethic” thing has to be code because Altidore, then Adu, then Johnson can provide something despite not looking like Landon, and would likely do so in the order I just listed them. Jozy would be a 10 goal-plus star in MLS…he had 9 for NY in his first big season there. Adu and then Johnson are more limited players. But Adu had a pair of assists on Dallas for the U-23s. So, work ethic my tush. They’re not skinnybones cross country runners but I’d take Altidore on my team tomorrow, and Adu may very well adorn the Olympic squad. So they’re hardly chopped liver.

    Lazy players and you never mention Rafa?


  • marco

    Ive watched a few AZ games and disagree with the coach. Jozy has progressed. Today Jozy should have chewed out his supporting cast for poor service, not one return ball. Maher, Holman, Elms, and Beerens are on a down slide. I worry that Jozy will stop passing and cutting knowing that he’ll not get a return pass. Step up coach, Jozy won’t chew them out.


  • CroCajun

    My criticism of him has always been that he isn’t more aggressive with balls in the air. A striker with his physical gifts should be a nightmare on crosses.


  • GW

    US fans seem to be unable to view Jozy with any kind of sobriety.

    If he scores a few goals, he has finally “arrived”.

    If he misses a few sitters he is unskilled, stupid and lazy.

    He bounces around for a bit and is still trying to find the right professional situation and every time he hits a rough patch, it is “he needs to come back to MLS”. As if that would solve anything.

    If he is lazy then playing in a league with less competition is sure to make him work harder.

    If he is stupid and needs to develop more skills then, again, playing in an inferior league will give him that right?

    You should all read Earnie Stewart’s take on Jozy in his recent interview.

    Earnie knew Jozy was a “project” when he signed him. He knew he was deficient in many soccer skills and intangibles. But he felt AZ, who are good at developing players, could make a better, more complete all around player out of him.

    This benching is pretty routine, probably overdue and no big deal. In fact, Jozy was not supposed to play this much this soon but the goal-scoring run was hard to ignore.

    Unless Jozy completely flames out I don’t see him going anywhere, nor should he if he knows what is good for him.


  • skyman

    Good point actually. Being in a reserve role as striker is still impressive for a team such as AZ.


  • skyman

    To spin your point a bit, anyone who is pushing to be on the first squad, and at striker as well, for Dortmund is impressing me already. The games I’ve seen Dortmund play they have been a joy to watch; quite fluid really, and doing very well in the Bundesliga again!


  • skyman

    I think Jozy will have much more of an impact than Shea. Look at what Jozy did against Spain, holding off Puyol to score like he did. Jozy will be good for the Nats in the upcoming years me thinks.


  • canabyX

    Jozy is on the bench because he is lazy. He has all the physical gifts but doesn’t seem to have what it takes to bring it to the next level. I’m glad Terrence Boyd was called up. I think we should have called up CJ Sapong too. If Jozy is the future of our offense we are screwed. … “He can’t shoot, he can’t score, he’s jogging Jozy Altidore.”


  • ryan

    none of the people on this board actually read the statistics. He has NEVER in his career scored over 9 goals except for this year. If he could score another three goals or so in the eredivise that would be a monster year for him. I think the coach is just trying to motivate him knowing that he needs him to score at least 3-6 goals in league play for the team to win the title. Who wouldve thought that Jozy after striking out in EPL and la liga would even have 11 goals in all competitions this season? When was the last time a US striker outside of dempsey scored over 10 goals in a mid major and or major league in europe? Probably Mcbride. Most of the people on this board have no idea what the 20 home run 30 home run 40 home run equivalents are in europe with respect to goals scored.(i would say Jozy is on pace for a 20-25 hr season for all Americans out there; how is this a bad year?) ppl are quick to say that someone is washed up or trash when they are having a pretty decent year.


  • Brett

    I see a lot of assumptions being made about Jozy’s character. He wasn’t simply born with all of this ability and strength. He’s clearly a hard worker.

    I think his manager is being forthright and truthful, and it is to Jozy’s benefit. I think he’s improved as a player tremendously since he left NYRB, specifically in his support play, but that isn’t enough. At the highest levels you must always be improving.

    This is pure speculation, but I believe the “progress” being referred to has much more to do with fitness and stamina more than any mental aspect of his game. Jozy’s huge frame is a liability because it means he must expend more energy to move all those bulky muscles. The harder he works in terms of his running, the faster he gets winded, the earlier we see him standing with his hands on his hips (if you’ve ever played soccer at any competitive level you know this is a HUGE ‘no-no’)

    Ever wonder why most world class soccer players aren’t built like linebackers?


  • MicahK

    I am laughing at all you SBI Jozy Alitdore haters. You all think that Jozy is lazy. He is not he jogs his but off every game. Also, Jozy is not a 90 minute guy he gives it his all until he cannot anymore. He is a very good player and you all bashing him is ridiculous.


  • Warren

    Jozy is still a ‘project’ by Dutch League standards, according to Earnie Stewart.

    We’ve all seen games where Jozy stands around, does not hustle to a ball a few meters away or doesn’t bother to to challenge a defender with the ball. And looks winded after 70 minutes. I don’t watch enough AZ to know if that is what is happening, but it seems a safe bet. Remember the Hull coach criticized him for same thing.

    Doesn’t mean AZ will give up on the Jozy project; but to me it does mean it is ill-advised to assume Jozy is the automatic starter for the USMNT first team.

    Frankly I’d love to see Boyd leapfrog past Jozy to a start against Italy on Wednesday. Yeah I know straight from Bundesliga reserves….of first place team.

    THAT would maybe teach Jozy a lesson about taking advantage of opportunities. Jozy can come on around 70th minute and run hard for 20 minutes ; ).


  • Todd

    I’ve said this for years. All his life he’s been big strong and fast, now that so is everyone else he doesn’t have the heart to get the cardio nor does he have the heart to truly fight on the pitch for balls like American greats Brian McBride and Clint Dempsey…or even potential greats like Charlie Davies!


  • Todd

    It’s definitely motivational. He said jozy wasn’t progressing as rapidly as ahe liked, not that he couldn’t or he didn’t want to. Pure office management strategy by the manager: let a talented employee know that because he’s talented you expect more from him and then watch him either rise to the challenge and have greater impact or fall down because he wasn’t as ready to make the jump as the manager thought!


  • Todd

    If he and I were the same size, he’d lose out to me n every fifty fifty ball and I’d strip him of the ball when he started with it, and I never even played in college!


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