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Poyet Praises Pantilimon Patience

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Costel Pantilimon had to wait for his chance to become Sunderland number one, but so far he has taken the opportunity with both hands.

Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Romanian international Costel Pantilimon left Manchester City last summer having spent the best part of his three-year stay with the Premier League champions warming the bench.

With England number one Joe Hart standing in his way, Pantilimon found top-flight appearances hard to come by and eventually featured only seven times on the Premier League stage.

He joined Sunderland in the hope of finally becoming first-choice goalkeeper and initially found it tough to displace last season's heroic star Vito Mannone.

However, two horrendous performances on the trot by the Italian at Southampton and in the home clash with former employers Arsenal opened the door ajar for the 27-year-old understudy to finally earn his stripes.

The 6ft 8in giant cut a composed figure between the sticks from his inclusion in the starting line-up at Selhurst Park, which saw the Black Cats claim a deserved 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace.

Sunderland followed that up with a creditable 1-1 draw at home to a dangerous Everton side, who were ultimately restricted to a solitary goal from the penalty spot.

Talking of Pantilimon's situation when moving to the Stadium of Light, Poyet said:

“I brought Costel in and I have to say that I told him before he came that I couldn’t promise him to play.

“He was leaving Man City and he was looking for a place to go and play.

“I said ‘if you want it easy, this is not the place’.

“But he knew, he came, he did well in pre-season and thought he had a chance.

“The manager decided ‘no’, but he took it and waited.

“Then of course, he needed to perform.

“And Costel has done well."

Mannone will now be forced to take a watching brief, while his replacement continues his bid to cement the position.

Though it's early days after only two first-team league outings, the signs look good for Pantilimon to enjoy an extended run in the side.