Costel Pantilimon relishing battle for No.1 spot at Sunderland

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Costel Pantilimon has told the BBC that he is ready to compete to become first-choice goalkeeper at Sunderland.

New signing

Pantilimon joined from league champions Manchester City earlier this summer, having served for most of the 2013-14 campaign as second-choice behind Joe Hart.

He made just 29 appearances during a three year spell at the Etihad Stadium, but it is hoped that he will get some more playing time at his new club. The signing of the Romanian international will provide some much needed competition for a starting spot at Sunderland following the expiration of Keiren Westwood’s contract, but dislodging first-choice Vito Mannone will be no easy task.

Admiration for Mannone

Pantilimon spoke of his admiration for Mannone, telling the BBC: "Everyone wants to be in the first XI, but Vito is a good guy and a good keeper".

Mannone, 26, won Sunderland’s player of the year award in his debut season at Sunderland after replacing first-choice Westwood early in the campaign.

Despite this fact, Pantilimon saw the opportunity to join the Black Cats after a discussion with manager Gus Poyet: “I had a good talk with the manager and I know his ideas and ambitions, I hope we can do good things together."

Breaking back into the Romanian team

Pantilimon also spoke of his desire to become Romania’s first-choice goalkeeper once again, after seeing his place taken by favoured by Ciprian Tatarusanu in recent months: "I want to come back to be number one in the national team, I'm young and I need to play.”

Pantilimon made his international debut in a friendly against Georgia back in 2008, and has gone on to make 18 caps for his country.

Who will be Sunderland’s first choice keeper for the upcoming campaign? Have your say below.

Costel Pantilimon
Premier League

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