Date:Friday July 28 2006
Young goalkeeper Ben Alnwick has withdrawn his transfer request after being told he will begin the season as first choice 'keeper.
Alnwick's first move of the close season was to hand in a transfer request, reportedly unhappy at the way he had been second choice throughout Sunderland's relegation season despite Kelvin Davis' indifferent form.
However, with Davis' transfer to Southampton it would seem Alnwick is now in prime position to make the number 1 spot his own, and received the backing from his new manager this week, who said that one day the England under-19 international will be spoken off on Wearside as fondly as Jimmy Montgomery. Alnwick has also been given the number 1 shirt this season, all but confirming that, even if Quinn, as expected, does bring in an experienced goalkeeper, Alnwick will begin the season as first choice.
For this reason, Alnwick has pledged his future to Sunderland and withdrawn his transfer request,
'There's now a great feeling among the players, staff and the fans at Sunderland,' Alnwick told the official club website.
'This is the start of a new era at Sunderland and I want to be a part of it, which is why I am committing my future to the club.'
Black Cats chairman-elect and manager Niall Quinn was also pleased with the decision,
'I'm thrilled for Ben, the club and of course our academy who have worked with him since he was 11 years old.
'We will continue to support and encourage Ben to help him achieve the heights we all know he's capable of.'
The news will come as a relief to Sunderland fans, who feared the worst only months ago, with both of the brightest prospects at the club, Alnwick and midfielder Grant Leadbitter, reportedly set to leave. However Leadbitter has now signed a new deal, and with Alnwick today committing his future to the club, fans at Sunderland are already beginning to see the positive effects of the Quinn revolution.
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