'It’s not in my nature to sit on the bench' - Keiren Westwood determined to fight for Sunderland goalkeeping spot

The 28-year-old will battle it out with new signing Vito Mannone for the number one jersey at the Stadium of Light, and will not be happy being second choice
Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Keiren Westwood has set his sights on being Sunderland's first choice goalkeeper after the transfer of Simon Mignolet to Liverpool.

Paolo Di Canio has brought in Vito Mannone from Arsenal, but Westwood is determined to make the number one jersey his own for the coming season. There had been talk of Westwood leaving the Stadium of Light, but after Mignolet's departure, Westwood looks set to get more game time. “It would have been a wrench to leave, but on the other side of it, I have to think of my career," the goalkeeper told the Sunderland Echo. “I have to play games and have something to look forward to during the week, putting all that work in on the training field to send fans home happy on a Saturday.

"I didn’t have that last year, but I still carried on going. At times, it was mentally demoralising. I want to play. Everybody knows I want to play. It’s not in my nature to sit on the bench. I would rather go and play for a Championship team on less money and play every week, just so I get that buzz on a Saturday.

"Sitting on the bench in the Premier League and picking up money is not my desire or attitude. It’s a trap I don’t want to fall into. You can quite easily do that. You can see over the years that players have done that, not just goalkeepers."

Meanwhile, Lee Clark has announced a 21-man-squad for Birmingham City's visit to Ireland. The Blues will train at Carton House in Kildare for six-days, and face League of Ireland side Shamrock Rovers in a friendly at Tallaght Stadium on Monday, July 8.

Among those travelling are Irish goalkeeping duo Colin Doyle and Darren Randolph, while Marlon King and Peter Lovenkrands have been left out of the squad.

Birmingham City squad:
Colin Doyle, Darren Randolph, Neal Eardley, Jonathan Spector, Kyle Bartley, Hayden Mullins, Dan Burn, Paul Robinson, Mitch Hancox, Liam Davis, Chris Burke, Koby Arthur, Tom Adeyemi, Olly Lee, Wade Elliott, Callum Reilly, Darren Ambrose, Nikola Zigic, Matt Green, Lee Novak, Andrew Shinnie.