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O'Neill: 'Keeper Not For Sale

After issuing a 'hands off' warning to anyone looking to take Simon Mignolet away from the club, Martin O'Neill has now done the very same with Keiren Westwood after enquiries were made.

Richard Heathcote

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill has warned any potential suitors for Keiren Westwood that they are wasting their time and that he wants to hold on to Ireland's first choice 'keeper.

Speaking with the Sunderland Echo today, O'Neill revealed that a mystery club had made an enquiry, but were quickly told there's no chance of a deal;

Keiren clearly wants to play some games, of course he wants to play.

My situation is that I have a very good goalkeeper in reserve, but it is hard to drop Simon Mignolet when he is playing so well.

The fact is I'm very reluctant to let anyone go because we simply don't have the back-up.

A manager did ask me about Keiren a few days ago - rang me manager-to-manager, which seems to be very rare these days - and I just had to to tell him we couldn't do anything.

It's quite true that there's not a hope in hell's chance that Mignolet will be dropped as this season he's gone to prove himself as one of the best young goalkeeping talents in the country, if not Europe.

Westwood himself said he'd be looking to move if he couldn't get a chance here, and despite the fact he hasn't really been given much of a one - just three games in a year - even he surely can't begrudge the Belgian the top position.

Westwood might have to wait until the summer when there would be more chance to bring in an older 'keeper to keep Mignolet on his toes, and help the progression of England youth international Jordan Pickford, who is currently the third choice.