Mignolet wants Black Cats stay

Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet has moved to quell speculation that he could leave the club.

Last Updated: 27/02/13 at 15:00 Post Comment

Simon Mignolet: Hoping to regain number one spot with Belgium

Simon Mignolet: Hoping to regain number one spot with Belgium

Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet has moved to quell speculation that he could leave the club in a bid to regain his place as Belgium's number one.

Comments from his agent Guy Vandermissen to the Belgian media suggested that the 24-year may have to consider his future on Wearside after he fell behind Thibaut Courtois in the pecking order.

However, Mignolet was quick to issue reassurances on Tuesday afternoon.

Mignolet told the Black Cats' official website, www.safc.com: "I felt I wanted to communicate with the club's fans following the media reaction to comments made by my representative, which I feel were taken out of context and not a true reflection.

"Of course, my ambition is to regain the number one spot with my national team, but I feel I can do that with Sunderland.

"I was playing as Belgium's number one a year ago and hopefully that can be the case in the future.

"I am happy at Sunderland - a club I am proud to represent. I will continue focusing on my football, starting with Saturday's game against Fulham."

Mignolet made his move after Vandermissen suggested he may need to be playing his football with a higher profile club if he was to depose Chelsea's Courtois, who is currently on loan at Atletico Madrid.

He told Belgian broadcaster ATVs: "Our ambition is for Simon to play somewhere that he can engage in competition with Thibaut Courtois for the place in goal for Belgium.

"Courtois is fortunate that he is playing for a team that has been doing well lately."

The news will come as a relief to manager Martin O'Neill, who has seen Mignolet make the keeper's spot at the Stadium of Light his own.

Keiren Westwood, who has lost his place and the Republic of Ireland's number one because of his lack of first-team football, is an able deputy, but Mignolet's form has marked him out as one of the most accomplished keepers in the Barclays Premier League this season.

Midfielder James McClean has closed down his Twitter account after finding himself embroiled in further controversy.

Press Association Sport understands the Derry-born player made the move after sparking an angry response when he tweeted about a Wolfe Tones song, the Broad Black Brimmer, at the weekend.

The song tells the story of a boy whose father is killed fighting for the IRA.

McClean's post attracted criticism from Gregory Campbell, DUP MP for East Londonderry, who advised the 23-year-old to "stick to football".

McClean has previously been abused on the social networking site after opting to play for the Republic of Ireland rather than Northern Ireland, and for his decision not to wear a Remembrance Day poppy on his shirt.

He also landed himself in hot water with international manager Giovanni Trapattoni after expressing his disgust at being left out of the team for the Republic's World Cup qualifier in Kazakhstan in September, and later issued an apology to the 73-year-old Italian.

Club boss Martin O'Neill has also been less than happy with the player's use of Twitter and will hope his latest withdrawal from the site is permanent.


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