Pantilimon ready to battle for place

Costel Pantilimon is braced for a battle to secure the number one spot at Sunderland.

The Romanian goalkeeper arrived from Manchester City last month and will by vying with Vito Mannone for a starting berth.

It is a challenge that he insists he is more than ready for.

"After speaking with the manager here I know it will be the same for the keepers as it is for all of the other players. It is a competition now," he told The Northern Echo. 

"The one who is doing well is going to be in the team. It's normal that it's like this.

"There should be fair competition for everyone and for whoever is working hard should be the one in the team. It's important to do what I can to help the team."

Pantilimon was with City for almost three years and spent most of that time as understudy to Joe Hart, making just seven Premier League appearances.

The 27-year-old grew frustrated at his lack of game time and admitted that a move was the best outcome for all parties.

"There were many reasons why I left," he added. "It wasn't just when I lost my place to Joe Hart last season. I think the big one was the manager and the staff, they knew about my situation and they knew I was a keeper who needs to play.

"We talked about this and it was a good decision for everyone. I want to thank them for everything and they helped me a lot. They offered me a chance to win trophies. Now I am only thinking about Sunderland and I hope to enjoy my time here.

"I needed to play more. It's normal to think this way. I hope I can show more of what I can do. It is important for me and for everyone. I think it was a good decision to come here."

Pantilimon was regularly selected in cup matches for City and played in their 3-1 League Cup final triumph against Sunderland in March.