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Westwood: I may leave Cats for Irish place

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Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Keiren Westwood. Picture: Oliver McVeigh/SPORTSFILE

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Keiren Westwood. Picture: Oliver McVeigh/SPORTSFILE

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Keiren Westwood. Picture: Oliver McVeigh/SPORTSFILE

KEIREN WESTWOOD has admitted he may have to consider leaving Sunderland if he is to regain his Republic of Ireland place.

The 28-year-old assumed Shay Given's mantle when he announced his retirement from international football after the Euro 2012 finals.

However, his lack of action at the Stadium of Light, where he is deputy to Simon Mignolet, has seen him lose the number one spot to David Forde, with manager Giovanni Trapattoni having left him in little doubt that he needs to be playing for his club to get back into the Ireland team.

Westwood is happy at Sunderland, but knows he may have to take a tough decision sooner rather than later.

Asked if he was open to a move, the former Coventry keeper said: "I'm not too sure. I love it at Sunderland, but if I'm not going to play ... it's a tough decision, but I need to play football. Not playing is a right disaster for me, I'm not going to lie.

"I haven't played any games and I lost my place here (Ireland) as well. It's tough. I'm not going to lie, at times you are in a dark place and you are on your own.

"Obviously, as a footballer, you want to play football and if you don't play, it's mentally challenging."

Westwood got 90 minutes on Sunday as Ireland beat Georgia 4-0 in a friendly, although Forde is likely to return for Friday's qualifier against the Faroe Islands, a minor knee problem permitting.

And he could get another taste of action in New York next week when Ireland play Spain, but his attention will then turn to what boss Paolo Di Canio has in mind for him at a time when Mignolet is being linked with a big money move.


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