Keiren Westwood has been making a name for himself in the Republic of Ireland to the point where Giovanni Trapattoni has said he would prefer to name him in goal over any other player.
The problem is that Westwood has not been getting game time at Sunderland as rumours spread that Trapattoni is about to recall Shay Given from Aston Villa into the national setup.
The issue puts Westwood in a very difficult position because he seems very happy and settled at Sunderland. However, if he cares about playing for his country then he’s effectively been told to leave.
“The goalkeeper is a particularly delicate position. I don't worry about an outfield player if he is not playing for his club but a goalkeeper is alone on the pitch and if he hasn't been playing then it's more difficult psychologically,” said Ireland’s Italian boss.
So what are his options? Well, his first option is to stay put but there is no guarantee that he’ll get football at Sunderland which means he could slip behind Given, David Forde and Stephen Henderson to the point where he won’t be named in an Ireland squad.
His other option is to try and get a loan move with the loan transfer window still giving him that opportunity.
There are several clubs up and down the football league who would be delighted to have someone of his quality and calibre between the sticks. These are clubs where he would be the number one.
He does have the option of simply waiting and hoping before forcing a leave in the summer.
However, by that point it could be a classic case of too little too late because Ireland are likely to have moved on by that point and if he doesn’t make the right move, he may never get back into the national setup.
A loan deal seems the most likely option but Sunderland will be reluctant to let him leave as they need him as cover for Simon Mignolet. If this is the case then it shouldn’t be too much trouble to insert a 24 hour call back clause into his loan agreement.
He last played for Sunderland back in October and has not made a Premier League appearance all season.
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