U.S. Men’s National Team forward Jozy Altidore has been itching to get back on the field for the past two-and-a-half months.
Altidore, who injured his hamstring in the opener of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, is fully recovered heading into Wednesday’s international match against the Czech Republic in Prague.
“It feels great. I’m so excited to be back,” said Altidore, who leads the current USA roster with 71 caps and 23 goals. “I want to get on the field and help the guys put out a positive performance.”
During Tuesday’s press conference, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann named Altidore the captain for Wednesday’s game. It represents the second time that Altidore will wear the armband. Altidore’s other international match as team captain was on Oct. 15, 2013, during the USA’s dramatic come-from-behind 3-2 victory against Panama to cap off the Hexagonal.
Altidore had some good momentum heading into the 2014 FIFA World Cup after recording a brace during the USA’s 2-1 victory against Nigeria on June 7 in the finale of the Send-Off Series. However, Altidore saw his World Cup end prematurely with a hamstring injury in the 21st minute of the U.S. MNT’s 2-1 win against Ghana on June 16.
“I’m fully recovered and I’m just working on my fitness now,” Altidore said. “I haven’t been able to get games being out, but I’m excited. It’s a young group, a new group, and it starts now working for Russia. It starts Wednesday.”
The Czech Republic is a formidable opponent for a young U.S. MNT roster that includes five players in search of their first cap. It will be an important first step for many of the players in camp as the USA searches for its first victory against the host side.
“The Czech Republic just missed out on the World Cup, so it will be a good test for us,” Altidore said. “It’ll be good to also give a lot of these young guys their first opportunity, and we’re looking to put in a good performance.”