Tuesday 24 October 2017

Westwood targets Given role

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

KEIREN Westwood completed his move to Sunderland yesterday and immediately set his sights on Shay Given's position as Ireland's No 1 goalkeeper.

Westwood -- signed on a free transfer from Coventry -- is expected to go straight into the Black Cats first team, with Craig Gordon set to leave the club during the summer.

And he is hoping his elevation to the Premier League will put pressure on Given, who is also set to move during the transfer window.

"That's a challenge that I have been chipping away at for the last couple of years, and hopefully playing in the Premier League will help me," said Westwood.

"Obviously, it is going to be very difficult. Shay is an amazing goalkeeper and he has dominated the position for Ireland for years now.

"My immediate aim is to get a good pre-season under my belt. It's a big part of things and it needs to be done. I'll be getting my head down and working hard straight away.

"I want to play, but so does everyone else. It'll be a tough contest, but that's what it's all about in Premier League squads."

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce rates his new stopper highly.

"Keiren has proven to be an exceptional goalkeeper and he has certainly been one of the best in this country outside of the Premier League in recent seasons," he said.

"We are looking forward to him joining what is a talented group of goalkeepers at the club."

Sunderland appear to have gone cold on Westwood's fellow Irish international Shane Long, after it was widely reported they were set to make a move for the Tipperary man.

Reading have confirmed they have received approaches from a number of Premier League clubs about the prolific striker, but the Championship club have yet to receive a firm offer.

Irish Independent

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