Earnie Stewart tips Jozy Altidore to shine at AZ

The Alkmaar side's sporting director has high expectations for his young compatriot, who is very pleased to have joined the 2009 Eredivisie champions
EXCLUSIVE
By Jesse Wieten

Former USA international and current AZ sporting director Earnie Stewart heaped praise on compatriot Jozy Altidore and believes that the 21-year-old striker has a bright future ahead of him.

Altidore joined AZ from Villarreal earlier this summer and the powerful attacker capped a fine debut against PSV at the weekend by scoring in the 3-1 victory for the Alkmaar side.

"Jozy has a golden future ahead of him and still has plenty of room for improvement. He's big, strong and fast and has all the characteristics a striker needs," Stewart told Goal.com.

"We are all convinced that he has a lot of potential and I'm glad to see him impress on his debut. We will do our utmost to help him develop into a better player.

"We have a long season ahead of us and it's up to him to make sure he gets playing time. He picked up a hamstring injury at the Gold Cup and has only been fully match fit for a week now. He is a quiet guy, but knows exactly what he wants."

Altidore is equally positive about his move to Alkmaar and is quite happy with life at AZ so far. The striker feels the Eredivisie outfit give young players the perfect opportunity to develop their skills in a professional environment.

"I'm feeling very well at AZ. Everybody is helping to make me feel at home and the club's being managed by some very professional people. It's great to be part of that. All the players are equally serious and I feel this is the perfect place to develop," Altidore said to Goal.com.

"This club have everything that I had in mind when I discussed my plans for the future with my family and agent. This is the perfect club for young players to become better. They play European football, this season Europa League and perhaps next term Champions League. Every player needs that experience to make the next step in their development."

AZ travel to Enschede next week for their second Eredivisie match of the season and Altidore will be hopeful of making it into the starting XI against Twente following his impressive substitute cameo on Sunday.