Vito Mannone cannot wait to begin a new chapter of his career with Sunderland.
The Italian ended his seven-year stay at Arsenal in order to join Paolo Di Canio’s side for an undisclosed fee earlier this month, having made just 23 first-team appearances for the Gunners in total.
Mannone is now targeting regular involvement at the Stadium of Light, and has hailed the atmosphere at the club ahead of Di Canio’s first full season in charge.
“It’s a big positive. It looks like a new era, the beginning of a new project. I’m really happy to be involved in this project now,” he told the Northern Echo. “There are quite a few new players in and it’s good that we’ve all come in at once at the start of something.
“The lads who were already here are helping us quite a lot. I think we’ve already made great progress in terms of getting to know each other and starting to form a team. In another month, we will be the team that the boss wants us to be.”
Mannone, who enjoyed loan spells with Barnsley and Hull City during his time at Arsenal, also described the thorough nature of pre-season training under Di Canio.
“All of his staff really want to do well and every little detail is fulfilled. We all really want to do well, and every player in the squad knows that. We are trying to get ready by working hard in pre-season,” he added.
“We need to make a good group of players who want to help each other. Then we will try to have a good season.
“I am trying to understand him (Di Canio) and how he works. Even though he speaks my own language, you still need time to get to know someone. He clearly loves his job – you can definitely see that – and he’s really passionate.”
The 25-year-old went on to underline his battling qualities as he prepares to challenge Keiren Westwood for the number one jersey at the Stadium of Light in 2012-13.
“As I always say, I’m a fighter and I want to fight. If I don’t have the chance to fight, then it’s a bit of problem. I’m not a guy who likes to stand there and look at things from the outside,” he continued.
“Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a person who can be happy like that. As soon as the chance came, I was always going to take it because it’s a great club and a great opportunity for me. I just want to get on the bike and start riding.”