COSTEL PANTILIMON insists that he has come to Sunderland to play, as he looks to oust reigning Player of the Season Vito Mannone from the number one spot.
New signing Pantilimon put the finishing touches to a four-year deal at the Stadium of Light yesterday after his contract at reigning Premier League champions Manchester City expired at the end of last season.
It is understood that the Romanian international has been pencilled in to be Sunderland’s new number one, despite Italian Mannone becoming a firm fans favourite in his maiden campaign on Wearside last season.
Sunderland are not looking to offload Mannone and head coach Gus Poyet is eager to see an intense level of competition between the two goalkeepers.
But Pantilimon has not joined Sunderland to play second fiddle to Mannone after being largely limited to a back-up role to England stopper Joe Hart at Man City.
“I said when I left Man City that I came here to play and help this team,” said Pantilimon.
“I know he’s (Mannone) a good player and a great keeper.
“We’ll fight to help this team and get good results.”
Pantilimon admits Poyet played a major part in his decision to join Sunderland, after opting to end his three-year stay at City.
The 27-year-old wanted to remain in the Premier League and there had been rumoured interest from the likes of West Ham and Arsenal.
But Poyet convinced Pantilimon to become Sunderland’s third Bosman signing of the summer and the stopper is convinced his tenure on Wearside can be a successful one.
“First of all, I talked with the manager,” Pantilimon added on the club website.
“He’s strong-minded and ambitious and he convinced me very quickly to come here.
“It’s a great opportunity to improve and work with a great manager.
“I consider the Premier League one of the best in the world and it was important to continue here.
“I spent three years at Man City, I liked it and now I start a new future at Sunderland.
“I hope to win trophies and I believe this. I’m sure we can do it.”