USA boss Juergen Klinsmann says he knows very well the massive demands being placed on young striker Jozy Altidore.
The 23-year old AZ Alkmaar star netted his third goal in his past three international matches as the US beat Panama 2-0 in World Cup qualifying on Tuesday night and although he was again on target, Klinsmann was taking a cautious approach.
“He knows he has our full support in his development. Again, we have talked often about Jozy and often we forget how young he still is,” said the former Inter Milan, Stuttgart, Bayern Munich and Tottenham striker.
“You got to give him a bad game or a bad performance as well. But you also got to kick him in his backside when you think he needs it. It’s just normal.
“He’s playing a position I played my whole career for 18 years for big clubs so I know what’s going through his mind, I know when he struggles and what we demand from him is when you struggle just fight for your way back into the game and do your job for the team.
“How he is doing that in the last couple of games is absolutely outstanding. Already against Costa Rica, in Mexico, and he continues now to do that. It helped him obviously scoring against Germany because that’s what you need. A striker needs goals for his confidence. I think he is also learning. I had a long chat with Ernie Stewart out there in Washington, his technical director at Alkmaar.
“He learns to use his body as well. He is such a physical presence and sometimes he doesn’t use it. I think he is just now starting to use it, to shield the ball and to do a lot of work for us. It’s really nice to see that coming along.”