Westwood: I want to be Sunderland No.1

The Republic of Ireland man asked to leave the Black Cats in January but he now wants to establish himself as first-choice goalkeeper following Simon Mignolet's departure
Keiren Westwood has revealed he wants to remain at Sunderland and compete with new signing Vito Mannone for the No.1 shirt.

The 28-year-old asked to leave the Black Cats on loan in January after being limited to just 13 appearances since joining from Coventry in July 2011.

14/1 Sunderland are 14/1 with BetVictor to finish bottom
But now Simon Mignolet has moved to Liverpool, Westwood is keen to stay and become Sunderland's first-choice goalkeeper ahead of Mannone, who was signed from Arsenal on Wednesday.

"For the sake of my career, I have to play," Westwood told BBC Newcastle.

"I love it here [at Sunderland], it's great. It's a fantastic club to be at and I couldn't have gone to much better, but I have to play football - I didn't play most of last season.

"It's not a club I want to leave, I've a lot of friends here, I love it and hopefully I can be playing."

Westwood briefly became the Republic of Ireland’s No.1 choice last year after Shay Given's retirement from international football.

However, he almost immediately lost his place to Millwall's David Forde due to a lack of first-team football with the Black Cats - a decision Westwood admits he understands.

"I lost my Ireland place on the back of me not playing, it's not through lack of form, just lack of game-time," added Westwood, who won his 15th cap in last month's friendly against Georgia.

"I totally understand the manager's thinking, I'm looking to get back playing now and get my Ireland place back."