Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce wasn’t with his current club back when the Black Cats swapped Jozy Altidore for Jermain Defoe, but he considers himself and his club very lucky the deal went down.
When asked about Defoe on Tuesday, the veteran manager said that he believes the forward is a realistic option to represent England at this summer’s Euro 2016. In leading relegation-threatened Sunderland, Defoe has scored a vital 15 goals this season, making the swap deal for Altidore all the more monumental for the club’s future in the Premier League.
“Having just been reminded that he was swapped for Altidore,” Allardyce said, “it’s one of the best bits of business the club has done for a long time, with all due respect to Mr Altidore.
“I just think, if (England manager Roy Hodgson) needed anybody to go along to the Euros with experience and he needed a goal, and maybe not from the start sometimes, then Jermain would be your man, if he felt he needed it, because he has proven that this year. He has had a big run of games that he has not had for a few years. He has been a consistent performer at the highest level again.”
While Defoe’s time at Sunderland has been a resounding success, Altidore’s stint with the Black Cats brought what was likely the toughest period of the U.S. Men’s National Team forward’s career. The striker scored just one goal in 42 appearances for the club and frequently drew the ire of supporters over his performances.
Altidore scored 13 goals for Toronto FC last season, his first with the Canadian cub. This season, Altidore has yet to score in seven appearances, but has provided two assists.