AZ’s Gertjan Verbeek: There is no problem between me and Jozy Altidore

The Dutchman explains why he left the American forward out of his starting line-up in a Europa League game last week and says that his assistants are working with him

AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek has dismissed suggestions that there is any problem between him and forward Jozy Altidore.

The 21-year-old has scored seven goals in all competitions for the Dutch side since joining them from Villarreal during the summer transfer window, helping them gain control of top spot in the Eredivisie table with 25 points from 10 matches.

Altidore has netted four times in the Europa League for AZ but found himself on the bench against Austria Wien in their 2-2 home draw in Group G last week.

However, the USA international was back in the starting line-up for their 1-0 league win against Roda at home, and Verbeek now insists that there is no personal issue with the forward.

"It really is not that we have put Jozy in a forgotten corner," he is quoted as saying by PA.

"Piet Keur [strikers' coach] has started working with him as has my assistant Martin Haar and our team manager Charles Bouwens. In this way we try to get Jozy to function the best he can.

"When you have players in your squad who are competitive, it seems it is still uncommon in the Netherlands to rest players. That happens with Ragnar Klavan, who plays fantastic for weeks and yet I sometimes say to him 'you won't play the next game'.

"In my view it is one of the reasons why we are top. There is acceptance, because decisions are explained and players pay attention."

AZ, who are four points clear of both PSV and Twente, are at Heracles on Sunday.