Mannone looking forward to ’emotional’ return


Vito Mannone says he’s looking forward to returning to Arsenal this weekend, having moved to opponents Sunderland in the summer for £2m.

The Italian stopper joined the Gunners as a teenager in 2005, and despite never doing enough to win a regular first team place, generally acquitted himself well when called upon.

He’s having a good run for the Black Cats, and was the hero in their penalty shoot-out with Manchester United last month. Tomorrow will be his first game against Arsenal since leaving.

“It’s another great game to play in, and to have the chance to go back there with a chance to play and be involved in this kind of game is great,” he told Sunderland’s official website.

“I grew up as a player at Arsenal and it will be emotional.”

Mannone was also the subject of praise from Arsene Wenger who aid he was delighted to see the Italian doing so well at Sunderland.

“I kept him here when he made a trial at 16. That he makes a career now, I’m extremely happy for him.

“You know, I had a big problem here – and it’s a nice problem to have – because I had three young keepers and all them three of top quality, with Fabianski, Szczesny and Mannone.

“In the end I let Mannone go because he deserved to play somewhere.”

Still, nice at it is to see him do well, we’d prefer if he kept his performance of the season to next weekend when he can spend his thwarting the might of Man City and winning the Capital One Cup.

Grazie, Don Vito.

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