Mannone determined to succeed

Youngster Jordan Pickford has come through the ranks and is now challenging Vito Mannone for the number one spot at the Stadium of Light.

Mannone determined to succeed
Mannone has made his mark back on the side (Getty Images)

Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone has praised teammate Jordan Pickford, stating he has a “big future” in the game, but is determined to remain the number one.

The shot-stopper has no intentions of going down without a fight just yet and he has insisted his focus is on keeping the Black Cats in the Premier League.

Goalkeeping unit strong as ever

Sam Allardyce wants to thank his lucky stars that he is blessed with a strong goalkeeping unit, after Pickford pushed his way through following Costel Pantilimon’s departure to Watford.

With the big Romanian around, there was uncertainty who was actually the number one, but Mannone has been the biggest benefactor as he is now firmly Allardyce’s first choice keeper.

“It’s good to make the goalkeeper work,” Mannone said in his press conference. “At any club I’ve been, there’s been capable keepers around me. But I’m focused on me, really.”

Pickford is one of Sunderland's rising stars (Getty Images)
Pickford is one of Sunderland's rising stars (Getty Images)

Competition is welcomed by Vito

The former Arsenal man stated that he is more than content with the competition on Wearside, after former Newcastle United man Steve Harper was brought in as cover in January.

Mannone said: “Jordan has got a big future, but I want to help the team and club stay in the Premier League.”

The 27-year-old was voted Sunderland’s Player of the Year in 2013-14, but, he lost his confidence and place in the side under former boss Gus Poyet.

Allardyce has shown faith in Mannone

After giving the Italian shot-stopper a chance in the final two games of the 2014-15 campaign, Allardyce has put his faith in Mannone this season.

“I slowly got my confidence back. I didn’t have an easy year with other managers,” Mannone said.

He added, “But since he’s [Sam Allardyce] come in, he’s been direct and honest with me.”

Mannone made quite a few stops in recent games with Liverpool and Manchester United, the latter of which the Black Cats won 2-1 at the Stadium of Light.