Jozy Altidore's spot on the US men's national team has long been a topic of discussion. While some have openly admitted he remains the best forward in the team's pool, chief among them head coach Gregg Berhalter, there is a focus on the many younger forwards in the pool who could quickly leapfrog him. That and Altidore's fitness concerns, have led some to claim the 31-year-old has nothing left to contribute to the national team, but Altidore himself disputed that suggestion.
“In MLS and U.S. soccer, we love to call players like myself old," Altidore said in an interview with Sports Illustrated's Brian Straus. "But if you look in Europe, some of the very best performers are older than me. And so, I just think that’s a very MLS and kind of a U.S. journalist’s mentality, this notion that I’m all of a sudden old, when [Robert] Lewandowski is 30-something."
Altidore also discussed rejoining the national team ahead of Sunday's international friendly against Trinidad & Tobago (7 pm ET | FS1, UniMás, TUDN) after a tough season with Toronto FC. He's the most capped player on the 25-man roster with 115 and is looking to make his first appearance since the 2019 Gold Cup. The team's long-term objective is obviously qualifying and playing at next year's World Cup, but while Altidore looks to re-establishes his spot with the national team, his focus is on the now and not the future.
"It’s not like you’re on the national team now and that means you’re on the team next year," Altidore said. "It’s you're on the team today, and you try to make the most of that opportunity. You try to give as much as you can to the team and the guys around you, and that’s what it is. For me, this year and going forward, I’m just living in the present and I’m taking it one day at a time, because nobody knows what's going to happen now, in two weeks, in three months, in the next two years. It’s an honor to be here and I’m trying to give my best every single day."