David Moyes explains Vito Mannone's absence from Sunderland squad

David Moyes has explained Vito Mannone's absence from the Sunderland squad.
Sunderland stopper Jordan PickfordSunderland stopper Jordan Pickford
Sunderland stopper Jordan Pickford

The big selection issue before the game at Goodison Park was whether Moyes would recall Jordan Pickford to the starting line-up following his recovery from two months out with a knee injury or keep faith with Mannone.

Pickford did start but there was no place for Mannone in the squad leading to great debate over his absence ahead of the game.

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Speaking post-match Moyes confirmed the Italian was ill.

Defender Jason Denayer also missed the 2-0 defeat at Everton through illness.

Pickford was nervy on his return to the Sunderland starting line-up, with his catching questionable at times.

He grew in confidence as the game progressed, making two important saves after the break, but could do little about their goal, with Idrissa Gana Gueye and Romelu Lukaku sealing a 2-0 win.

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Speaking after the game, Moyes said: "I think that Jordan's performances in the first half of the season justified him being selected.

"His performances are why he got selected for England.

"It is not easy with young goalkeepers, I put him in and his performances have been excellent.

"He saved us points at the start of the season. He is back fit, I have a lot of faith in him, he has good competition from Vito Mannone too."

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When asked why Mannone wasn't in the squad, Moyes added: "Vito was ill yesterday."

When pressed on whether Pickford would have played anyway, Moyes was keeping his cards close to his chest, adding: "That is my decision."