Revealed: The most important player if Sunderland are to survive

Costel Pantilimon
Costel Pantilimon

There wasn’t much to get excited about against Southampton but it was good to see Costel Pantilimon back on form, especially as he had to pick the ball out of the net half a dozen times in the game before at Everton.

For the first time since he arrived on Wearside questions have been asked of him lately, not just after the six conceded at Goodison Park but he was also criticised for goals conceded against West Ham and West Brom.

My take on it, is that he should have done better for West Ham’s second goal but Saido Berahino’s goal at the Hawthorns was a foul and should have been disallowed.

Ex-referee Graham Poll said it shouldn’t have stood and that is good enough for me, though some pundits bizarrely claimed because he is 6ft 8” it wasn’t a foul as if the rules are different for taller keepers!

Ever since he made his debut last season, I have been impressed with the Romanian international and there are not many keepers in the Premier League that I would swap him for.

His save in the derby from Aleksandar Mitrovic was crucial and every bit as important as any of the goals in our only win so far this season.

I know some fans have doubted him, and still do, but I am not one of them, so that is why I was pleased to see him back to his best on Saturday.

Whenever teams are at the bottom the goalkeeping position is vital.

A weak, inconsistent keeper spreads panic to the back four and through the team but a big strong dominant one breeds confidence and that is why there are not many more important players at the club than Pantilimon if we are to survive again this season.