Mignolet rest could open door for young keepers

BUZZING ... Sunderland's Simon Mignolet
BUZZING ... Sunderland's Simon Mignolet
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SIMON Mignolet sat training out today as his team-mates were put through their paces at the Bucheon Stadium near Seoul this morning, writes Graeme Anderson in South Korea,

The Sunderland keeper was rested as a precaution more than anything else Martin O’Neill confirmed.

But the Sunderland manager added: “We’ve got two more than capable goalkeepers with us in the shape of Jordan Pickford and Ben Wilson. And if it came to them having to play part of tomorrow’s game against Groningen, I wouldn’t have any problems with that.”

O’Neill was a quiet presence on the training pitch as his coaches bellowed instructions in a short but intense session at the former Olympic Stadium, the players breaking at regular intervals for drinks in the oppressive heat.

Throughout the morning exercises, the few Sunderland supporters who have made this trip filtered into the ground for what was an open session, with the Jarrow branch leading the way.

Afterwards the players met the couple of dozen supporters – many of whom had been at the fans’ night in Seoul attended by Jimmy Montgomery the previous evening – and posed for photographs and autographs.

O’Neill, who posed for a “team photo” of players and fans, agreed to present his training top to one lucky fan at tomorrow’s game.

He said: “The fans have been terrific and they deserve every credit for making it out here. It has a fantastic effort by them.

“I’m disappointed we couldn’t win our game on Thursday but we’ll do everything we can to put in a better performance and hopefully get a winning result this Sunday.”