Altidore prefers to stay at Villarreal

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - U.S. forward Jozy Altidore seems amused by all the attention his club situation is getting.

Altidore reported back to Spain’s Villarreal last week after spending last season on loan to England’s Hull, which was relegated from the Premier League. On Sunday, he scored in Villarreal’s preseason match against Turkey’s Besiktas, a team said to be interested in acquiring him from the Yellow Submarine.

“I am going to do a LeBron James decision,” he said with a smile. “Have everyone guessing.”

The 20-year-old forward has nine goals in 29 international appearances and started all four U.S. games at the World Cup.

“I’m in a really fortunate position right now. A lot of things on the table,” he said Monday, a day before the Americans’ exhibition against five-time World Cup champion Brazil. “The important thing is Villarreal has been very supportive.”

Altidore said it’s possible Villarreal will retain him for the season. The summer transfer window ends Aug. 31.

Villarreal bought him from the New York Red Bulls in June 2008. In the second half of the 2008-09 season, he was loaned to Xerez but never got into a match.

“Everybody knows I want to stay with Villarreal. They’re the club that bought me,” he said. “I think I’ve done well there, coming back there. And in the World Cup I think I did all right. The dialogue there is ongoing, and they’re happy with what I’m doing so far, in terms of the coaching staff _ presidents and owners of clubs, it’s a business at the end of the day.”

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UP AHEAD: While the U.S. usually takes off most of the six months following a World Cup, this year’s schedule is unusually busy. An Oct. 9 exhibition against Poland at Chicago is likely, followed a match against Colombia three days later, probably at a stadium included in the 2018-22 U.S. World Cup bid, as the New Meadowlands is.

“It’s kind of the process of bringing in some new guys, identifying new players,” American captain Carlos Bocanegra said during an appearance of 10 players at the Empire State Building. “That’s usually how it goes after a World Cup cycle.”

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HOWARD’S RIBS: Goalkeeper Tim Howard is looking forward to Everton’s Premier League opener Saturday at Blackburn.

His ribs have mostly healed since getting cleated by Emile Heskey in the World Cup match against England on June 12, although a scar remains.

He looks forward to the rebuilding process.

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