Wednesday 24 January 2018

Westwood woe as illness setback to scupper season

soccer

Ireland goalkeeper Keiren Westwood
Ireland goalkeeper Keiren Westwood
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

IRELAND goalkeeper Keiren Westwood is unlikely to figure again for Sunderland this season after an illness has delayed the shoulder operation he needs to get back on track.

Westwood started the campaign as Paolo Di Canio's No 1, but injury checked his progress and he lost his place to Vito Mannone. Sunderland boss Gus Poyet said that the 29-year-old's prospects for the rest of the campaign are limited. "I can't see him playing much this season," said Poyet.

The former Coventry netminder has been tipped to leave the Stadium of Light this summer and his fitness issues could also have a damaging impact on his international situation.

Westwood (left) started Martin O'Neill's first match in charge against Latvia, but David Forde is now in pole position to stake a claim in March's friendly with Serbia.

A return to the fold for in-form Shay Given has also been floated as a possibility with the Donegal native revitalised by a loan switch to Middlesbrough.

When Given retired after Euro 2012, Westwood was Giovanni Trapattoni's preferred replacement, but he failed to properly seize the opportunity and Forde finished the campaign as No 1. Birmingham's Darren Randolph is also making a positive impression at Championship level.

Irish Independent

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