Player of the Day: Vito Mannone

by Ashley Houghton

Who else? Italian stopper in today's spotlight.

Current Black Cats keeper Vito Mannone is enjoying a growing reputation on Wearside in his first season with the club.

The Italian stopper’s heroics in Wednesday evening’s Capital One Cup penalty shootout success over Manchester United wrote his name into Sunderland folklore.

Mannone saved penalties from Adnan Januzaj and Rafael to send the Black Cats to one of their most famous victories in what has to be the highlight of his Sunderland career to the date.

The 25-year-old’s birthday falls on the same day as the Capital One Cup final with Manchester City at Wembley.

Vito initially moved to England with Arsenal after joining the Gunners as a 17-year-old from Italian side Atalanta.

He made his debut at the age of 21 and represented Arsene Wenger’s side in the Barclays Premier League and UEFA Champions League, making 15 appearances in all.

The former Italian U21 international also spent time on loan at Barnsley in 2006, making four appearances for the Tykes.

He also had two spells at Hull, playing 11 games in the 2010-11 season plus a further 23 during the following campaign.

Vito played 13 games for Arsenal in 2012-13, including four in the Champions' League, before moving to Sunderland, where he has established himself as number one.

Head coach Gus Poyet has handed Mannone all-but-one of his Black Cats appearances and the Italian has returned the favour to date with impressive performances in away wins at Everton and Fulham as well as his impressive clean sheet in the home win over Manchester City.