Mannone: Pickford duel making me a better player

Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone has said that his duel with Jordan Pickford, to be the Black Cats' No.1, has made him a better player.

Mannone: Pickford duel making me a better player
Above: Vito Mannone saving a shot in Sunderland's 2-0 win over FA Stade Nyonnais | Photo: Getty Images

Sunderland No.1 goalkeeper Vito Mannone, has said the competition with youngster Jordan Pickford, has made him a better player.

Always good to have competition

‚ÄčThe Italian managed to regain his place after the departure of Costel Pantilimon, and proved vital in the side's eventual survival last season.

The former Arsenal keeper has played the majority of the club's pre-season games, having played 45 minutes against both Hartlepool and Rotherham United, and the full game against FA Stade Nyonnais.

However it does seem that Pickford will be pushing for his place this season, the Washington-born youngster is highly touted amongst many, and Mannone is relishing the competition.

He said: "I enjoy the battle" and have a “good relationship and we fight for the spot in the team, as it is supposed to be at every club."

He continued: “I am glad that I am in the position at the moment, and I will work hard to stay here and improve myself."

Mannone concluded: “I did well last year and I have got the jersey, so it is up to me to maintain it" but admitted “I’m glad there is always someone behind me to push me, because that makes me work even harder" as it's the "best feeling as a keeper.”

Above: David Moyes on the touchline in Sunderland's 2-0 win over
Above: David Moyes on the touchline in Sunderland's 2-0 win over FA Stade Nyonnais | Photo: Reuters

Just a football thing

Mannone will be looking to impress a new manager, with David Moyes coming in for the exiting Sam Allardyce.

The Scotsman took charge of his first game against FA Stade Nyonnais, and Mannone believes that this is what happens in football.

Mannone told BBC Newcastle: "It's happened a few times" and they are "used to it and know what we need to do" and it is a "new start again" and "want to be optimistic and be positive."

Sunderland AFC  will take on Dijon FCO at the Stade Camille-Fournier on Wednesday, July 27 with kick-off at 6pm BST.