To the frustration of Keiren Westwood, and Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni, he has made the Sunderland No 1 jersey his.
"He's done very very well. There are a number of very very good goalkeepers in this league but he's had an exceptional time here. Since he stepped into the side on New Year's Day last year he is improving all the time. He's been terrific.
"He is a gem, absolutely. He's done fantastically well for us and it genuinely couldn't happen to a nicer person. He's as modest as they come. He wants to improve his game and there's still improvement for him.
"He was disappointed last weekend with Reading's winning goal because he had taken a step forward and he was trying to anticipate and that's Simon. He's the first person to be self-critical."