Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Pantilimon prepared for battle

Costel Pantilimon left Manchester City for the Stadium of Light last month
Costel Pantilimon left Manchester City for the Stadium of Light last month

Sunderland new boy Costel Pantilimon is gearing up for a month-long battle with Vito Mannone for a place in Gus Poyet's Barclays Premier League team.

The 27-year-old Romanian left Manchester City for the Stadium of Light last month in the search for regular first-team football.

However, in order to achieve that this season, he will have to oust Italian Mannone, the Black Cats' Player of the Year for last season, and that is a battle be believes will be fought out during the remainder of pre-season.

Pantilimon told the Sunderland Echo: "At this moment, I think everyone is fighting for their position. There's a long period until we start the Premier League.

"It's normal for everyone to work hard, train hard and after that, we'll see what happens. I think everyone wants to be in the first XI. We'll see.

"Vito is a good guy and a good keeper. I know that. But whatever happens, it's important that it helps the team.

"It's not just competition for us, it's everyone in the team. At this moment, no-one is in the starting XI."

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