vito mannone and keiren westwood

Di Canio relishing keeper battle

by Ashley Houghton

Coach believes team are in safe hands.

Sunderland head coach Paolo Di Canio has urged both Keiren Westwood and new signing Vito Mannone to battle it out for the Black Cats’ number one spot during pre-season.

The departure of Simon Mignolet has left a position to fill for Di Canio ahead of the season’s opener against Fulham on the 17 August.

Westwood has played 13 games since moving to Wearside in 2011 whilst Mannone comes to the Stadium of Light with UEFA Champions League experience to his name.

And Di Canio is keen for both players to prove their worth over the course of pre-season.

“I speak to Keiren a lot and he was unlucky to have Mignolet because he did very well and he was crucial for us,” the Italian said.

“Now he has the chance to start again to challenge with competition to determine who is going to play.

“We have two good goalkeepers with very high desire so it will be interesting to see how they work so hard.”