Sunderland quick to toughen up Ustari

Oscar Ustari.

Oscar Ustari.

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OSCAR Ustari is being given a fast-track education in the hard-line approach to goalkeepers in English football.

January signing Ustari has kept clean sheets in his opening two games for Sunderland after replacing first-choice stopper Vito Mannone for the FA Cup victories over Kidderminster and Southampton.

But they have been the Argentine international’s first taste of football on these shores after spending his career in South America and Spain.

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet knows first-hand the major difference in the protection afforded to goalkeepers overseas, compared to the more physical approach in England, and says the Black Cats’ coaching staff have been drumming that into Ustari.

Poyet told the Echo: “You need to get used to the contact in English football and we’ve been talking to Oscar a lot about that.

“He’s got an advantage that he’s been in England for almost a month now and he’s been able to watch.

“There are plenty of fouls on a goalkeeper in England that are not given. Everywhere else in the world, it’s a foul. Easy. The referees don’t have a doubt.

“If you touch the goalkeeper in Spain, it’s a foul. You cannot jump into the goalkeeper.

“Here, it’s different but – hey – I love it!

“It’s unlucky for the goalkeepers, but you need to get used to that.

“It’s not only talking about it, you need to get used to doing it.”

Ustari, who has been an unused substitute in the Premier League so far for Sunderland, has shown few signs of trepidation in his two outings for the Black Cats so far.

The 27-year-old, who had his contract ripped up at Spanish side Almeria last month, has looked an assured figure after Sunderland handed him a deal until the end of the season to provide cover for Mannone.

But Mannone will return to the starting line-up at Arsenal on Saturday as the Black Cats look to extend their six-game unbeaten run away from home.