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Jozy Altidore

June 10 Press Conference with Tim Howard and Jozy Altidore

U.S. MNT Goalkeeper TIM HOWARD:
On England’s goalkeeping corps:
“I think they’re very good. David James has played at the highest level for a long, long time. He’s played in Cup finals, in big games, he holds the shutout streak, at one point held a consecutive games streak. So that speaks for itself. To criticize him is probably easy, to criticize any goalkeeper is easy, but you have to look deeper than that. He puts in some amazing performances. Obviously Joe Hart is very up and coming, he showed this season how spectacular he can be as well as how consistent he can be. For me, I’ve always liked Robert Green because he’s steady. I admire goalkeepers like that who aren’t flashy but get the job done every week. So I think contrary to what you read every week, they’re in pretty good hands.”

On the mentality of the team:
“Our mentality is good. Anybody who’s been in this situation knows what I’m talking about when I say we’re tired of kicking each other, we’re tired of training, we’re together forever. This is everything that we’ve dreamed of, and everything that everyone is talking about, and so we’re ready to just get it on and see what we’re made of. All the talk is over, or soon will be over, and we’re excited for that. We are prepared, we know exactly what kind of game we’re going to be in, we’re under no illusions. I think it couldn’t be a better challenge to be the first game for us.”

On how playing in the Premier League has improved him and the team over the years:
“For me, it’s hardened me. I think I was criticized a lot when I was over there, but I’ve bounced back and I feel like I was able to take my lumps and get better. I’ve definitely become hardened and more resolute, and for me it’s been an amazing journey. I think a lot of our players are experiencing that. You look at Clint Dempsey, he’s been Fulham’s player of the season the past two years in my opinion. But even when he went over, he didn’t have a great run, and he had a few doubters, and he’s proved them all wrong. So I think that resilience is paying off for us, and not just for myself and Clint, so I think it’s important that we’re playing at that level.”

On Clarence Goodson:
“Clarence has been good for us. He’s not only young in age, but he’s young in terms of national team experience, so he’s really open to comments and constructive criticism. He’s one of these guys who, because he doesn’t have a load of games at this level, he’s always taking things on board and really open to learning and trying to get better. You can see him doing it everyday, even in the games. He’s been good, he’s a really good kid to have around. Hopefully he’ll do some really good things for us, because that would really help me a ton.”

On what matches in his career might compare to a World Cup:
“Probably a cup final and semifinals at Wembley, with all the jubilation and the crowd. I think for any U.S. player, to play in Mexico City against Mexico—nothing can match it. It’s one of the most amazing experiences that you’ll ever have as a player. You go into those games with your backs against the wall, underdogs, crowd’s against you, so hopefully we can draw from that.”

On Edson Buddle’s performance so far with the team:
“From what I’ve seen, and I don’t know Edson tremendously well, but he seems to do things very simply. He doesn’t take too many touches. He’s been scoring a lot of goals lately and he doesn’t waste his touches or dilly-dally on the ball. I think that’s good for a striker to have that instinct. He just seems to be simplifying things and it’s probably better for him because at this level things go so quickly, but he’s made it look easy.”

On the development of Maurice Edu and Stuart Holden:
“First, for Mo, anyone’s going to benefit from playing on a club like Rangers. There’s so much pressure on the players up there. He’s a good player, he’s very confident as you know if you get to be around him. So you match his skills and his confidence with being in hard, difficult games and a lot of expectation and some people will crumble, but Mo’s got the type of attitude that he’s going to step up to the plate and be somebody. Hopefully in this tournament he’ll show something as well. We all know that in three games, no team ever really plays the same lineup. So everyone’s going to have a chance to shine and contribute, and we have no doubt about Mo and what he brings.”

“Stuart’s been great, he’s been a revelation. He was really good in MLS, and you expected it because he was a young, streaky hot player. He’s come over and from all the things I hear, at Bolton they think the world of him. Again, that’s great for us. We’ve got a bunch of guys, even Jozy and myself included, who have a lot to prove on this stage. We’re all pretty excited about it. I don’t think you’ll see too many people trying to be individuals, but at the same time we’ve all got a point to prove.”

On the rehab he’s been doing to get back to full strength and fitness after spraining his ankle last week:
“Just a lot of treatments, two or three times a day. As it healed, as it got better, I’d do some fitness away from the group, just trying to make sure I keep that up. Little things like that, there’s not much more I can do. I’m hopeful, mentally I’m ready to go if called upon. My fitness level is fine, I think we’ve done a lot of fitness throughout the week and I actually did a lot of fitness as soon as I left England. I went over to L.A. and worked with Pierre. I’ve been running for awhile, so hopefully I’ll be alright on the field.”

On how Americans playing in the Premier League have helped the team:
“I think it’s obviously helped us, we have a lot of key players like Clint, Landon and Timmy that have experience there. It helps everybody else because you have those guys able to give advice to other players about how a certain player might play, so that’s always a plus.”

On Robbie Findley’s impact on the U.S. attack:
“I think Robbie’s confidence has grown every time he steps on the field. He feels more comfortable with the guys, feels more like himself, and you can just tell. Each touch he takes on the ball, the way he takes people on now, his swagger’s a little bit different. That’s huge for us because he’s a good outlet for us with long balls over the top, but not only that, he tracks back and helps us defend. So I think he’s a real plus.”

On Edson Buddle’s ability:
“I think I would agree with Tim, he’s a good target forward. He’s that traditional guy who gets the ball, holds it up and lays it off. He gets in the box, and it’s always good to have a guy like that around. I think he’s been sharp in training, and in the game he obviously did really well. And off the field he’s a great guy. I had the experience with him in New York, so it’s not my first time. I think he’s always had it in him, it was just a matter of it coming out. But now people are starting to see his qualities, and it’s real exciting.”