While Westwood could not be blamed for the majority of the six goals conceded against Germany in October, he looked a little ring rusty that evening.
The bald facts are that the Manchester native born to Wexford lineage has made just nine league appearances for the Black Cats since joining the club back in summer 2011. He needs regular first team football at club level or he faces falling well down the pecking order at international level – especially with Shay Given set to return to answer Ireland’s call.
RICHARD DUNNE (Aston Villa): For many years now the “Honey Monster” has been Ireland’s rock at the centre of defence. He has been injured ever since Euro 2012 however and following surgery on his groin, he looks set to move to New York Red Bulls.
The 33 year-old underwent a third operation on his groin in Philadelphia last week.
Whether a move to the MLS is a positive for the Tallaght native’s international career is another matter. He is a trusted lieutenant of Giovanni Trapattoni’s though and provided he is willing and able to make the regular trek across the Atlantic to play for Ireland, then his future at the heart of the Irish defence is secure until the end of the World Cup qualifying campaign.
ALAN JUDGE (Notts County): The former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international has become a regular at Meadow Lane since signing in the summer of 2011.
The 24 year-old has reportedly been monitored by Premier League new boys Reading and would be eager to play at a higher level if he is to force his way into contention at senior international level. A move to a Championship club would seem more likely though and he has had plenty of suitors at that level.
AIDEN McGEADY (Spartak Moscow): Following Spartak’s recent exit from the Champions League, the Glasgow native could do with a move.
He has stated that he would be interested in a move to England. Premier League strugglers Aston Villa would welcome an extra attacking impetus and McGeady would provide just that.
STEPHEN HUNT (Wolves): Manager Stale Sollbakken is happy to let the high earner go, and it’s just a matter of whether a club is willing to meet his wage demands.
Hunt has dropped out of the international picture and needs first-team football to make a case for a recall. His time at Molineux has been dogged by injuries.
Wolves are likely to re-coup only a fraction of the £10million spent on the Waterford native back in summer 2010 and he is out of contract at the end of the season.