Wednesday 17 July 2013
Sunderland's new signing Jozy Altidore cannot wait to take part in the Barclays Asia Trophy, describing the trip to East Asia as "really exciting" and the chance to perform at Hong Kong Stadium as "what every player dreams of".
The United States international became manager Paolo Di Canio's seventh close-season signing after moving from AZ Alkmaar on a five-year deal last week, and the 23-year-old striker, who scored 23 goals in the Dutch Eredivisie last season, is eagerly looking forward to Sunderland's pre-season tour.
"This is what every player dreams of, to go to places like that and play in front of a lot of people"
The Black Cats will take on Tottenham Hotspur in the Barclays Asia Trophy semi-finals on 24 July, before meeting either Manchester City or South China three days later, and the American striker is eagerly anticipating the experience.
"It's really exciting," the 23-year-old, who helped Alkmaar lift the Dutch Cup last season, told the club's website. "This is what every player dreams of, to go to places like that and play in front of a lot of people. We'll be playing against good teams, too. I'm excited and I’m sure the guys are too - for this, and to get the season going."
Di Canio agrees that the quality of the opposition and the impressive atmosphere of the Hong Kong Stadium will prove an acid test for his charges, and in particular, his new signings.
"We are going to stay another nine days together far from England and we are going to work very hard there but we are going to play two very important games," said the Italian. "The players, especially the new players, can test themselves straight away against one Premier League club for sure, with a full stadium, so it will be the first chance to feel the real atmosphere of the Chinese people, and also the English people who are staying there."
In addition to Altidore, Di Canio has so far added six further recruits this summer, all of whom have been included in the 32-man squad for the Barclays Asia Trophy. They are Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone; defenders Cabral, Modibo Diakite and Valentin Roberge, who signed from Basel, Lazio and Maritimo respectively; IFK Goteborg winger David Moberg Karlsson and midfielder El Hadji Ba, who joined from French club Le Havre.