Vito Mannone eyeing up Italy's number one shirt

Having helped guide Sunderland to Premier League safety, the goalkeeper now wants to play for his country.

Vito Mannone eyeing up Italy's number one shirt
Mannone has never been capped by his country (Photo: Sunderland Echo)

Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone wants to become Italy's first choice goalkeeper, according to his agent.

The Italian played a key role in the Black Cats' survival, keeping four clean sheets in Sunderland's final eight games of the season. With Premier League football confirmed for another season, Mannone wants to take the next step of his career and enter the international stage.

Despite being capped at youth level, the former Arsenal stopper has never played for Italy's senior side, much to the anger of his agent.

No reward for Mannone

Mannone began the season as Sunderland's number two keeper behind Costel Pantilimon, but managed to force himself back in front of the Romanian goalkeeper, who later departed the Stadium of Light, joining Watford in January.

Mannone's agent Robert De Fanti has stated that his client's goal is to now play for his country after being "absolutely instrumental" in keeping Sam Allardyce's side in the top tier of English football.

De Fanti told Tutto Mercato: "The target now is to work hard and become the number one for the national team from September onwards."

Mannone has impressed thoroughly on Wearside since the turn of the year, but not enough to earn an Italy call-up. (Photo: Getty)
Mannone has impressed thoroughly on Wearside since the turn of the year, but not enough to earn an Italy call-up. (Photo: Getty)

Italian eyes on the Stadium of Light

Italy recently announced their preliminary squad for the European Championships this summer in France, with one Sunderland player being a part of manager Antonio Conte's squad.

The player in question is Fabio Borini, who is part of Italy's provisional forward line, but there was no place for Mannone, with the next Chelsea boss opting for Federico Marchetti, Antonio Mirante and Marco Sportiello.

Conte has clearly had eyes on Wearside with Borini being selected, but Mannone, who is the only Italian goalkeeper in the Premier League, did not do enough to impress the Italy manager.

De Fanti is disappointed that Mannone was not selected "despite his years of hard work", and he will now have to focus his attentions on next season instead of European glory.