Hull assistant manager Brian Horton believes Jozy Altidore can become a key player in the Tigers’ relegation battle after the striker scored his first Barclays Premier League goal.
The United States international netted in the first half of Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Manchester City and caused problems for the visiting defence throughout the match at the KC Stadium.
Altidore joined Hull on loan from Villarreal in August but has taken time to make an impression and has also had off-the-field trauma to deal with.
The 20-year-old’s parents come from Haiti and he has family in the country who were affected by last month’s devastating earthquake.
He was granted compassionate leave and missed Hull’s draw with Tottenham on January 16 but put in arguably his best performance for the Tigers on Saturday, capped by his goal, which he celebrated by kissing a wristband bearing the Haitian flag.
Horton said: “He needed that. His displays have been good but to get his first league goal is just what he wanted and he was a handful all round.
“He’s a young lad and we’ve probably heaped a lot on him but he’s shown glimpses of what people have bought him for. He’s got pace, he’s got quite a lot of things going for him. We’re just pleased we spotted the opportunity to bring him here.
“He’s had a lot to contend with with his family. You don’t understand those things until it’s happened to yourself; for a 20-year-old boy in a different country having to cope with all that, but he’s shown he’s got ability, that’s the main thing for us.”
Altidore believes he is now getting to grips with the Premier League and is hoping to build on his first goal.
“It’s a league that’s very fast and I think that takes a little bit of adjusting, especially if you’re a young player,” he said. “I think I’m getting there and hopefully I can just keep going.”