Costel Pantilimon is excited by the competition between the sticks ahead of the new season, with young stopper Jordan Pickford aiming to secure a slot in the first team squad ahead of the ousted Vito Mannone. The giant Romanian keeper will surely hang on to the Number 1 shirt come August, but Pantilimon has heaped praise on his potential understudy after Pickford travelled with the squad around North America. It is unlikely that all three keepers will remain on Wearside, meaning that if a bid comes in for Mannone, Pickford will be the Number 2 choice. However, if the Italian does stay, Pickford could be loaned out to a Championship side to continue his excellent development. Pantilimon told the Sunderland Echo: In a good team, its very important to have two or three good players for each position. That helps the team to grow and get better results. Jordan is a nice kid, hes working hard. For him and his confidence, its been good to be training with us. Growing with a big team is important for your future. He has qualities, you know. He has to work hard and to keep improving everything about his game. But Im sure one day, hell be part of the team.
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