For someone playing just his first La Liga match, Jozy Altidore certainly didn’t look out of place.
The U.S. national team and former Red Bulls striker made his debut for Villarreal on Sunday and was extremely impressive during his 45 minutes of actions. His combination of size and speed troubled Deportivo La Coruna’s defenders throughout the second half of Villarreal’s 1-0 win.
Though Altidore is not on Villarreal’s Champions League roster, he certainly made a strong claim for more playing time and certainly did enough to put some more pressure on U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley to call him up for next month’s World Cup qualifiers.
If you missed Altidore’s debut, here is a video compilation of his best moments (courtesy of Yanked Around):
Altidore look completely comfortable, not at all overwhelmed or overmatched, which is amazing considering he is still just 18.
While it was only 45 minutes, Altidore’s performance certainly raise the question of whether Bradley can keep holding off on calling in Altidore while choosing to call in Eddie Johnson, who failed to get off the bench for Cardiff City this weekend, and who has been thoroughly unimpressive in recent national team appearances.
If anything, we saw a healthy, confident and dangerous Altidore who just might wind up thriving on a loaded Villarreal squad that has plenty of attacking stars to help Altidore flourish.
With that in mind, it would be tough to justify failing to call in Altidore for any future national team games, especially if he keeps getting minutes for a top club in a top league, a distinction he would share alone among players in the current U.S. national team pool.
It’s time for a poll:
What did you think of Altidore’s performance on Sunday? Do you think he could be an impact player in just his first season in La Liga? Do you think it’s time for him to become a U.S. national team regular, or do you think being patient with him is more prudent given that he is still just 18?
Share your thoughts below.