GUS Poyet insists Lee Cattermole will be unaffected by the transfer deadline day drama which saw the midfielder come within a whisker of being transferred to Stoke City.
The Teessider’s potential £5m move to the Potteries collapsed at the 11th hour last night – much to the relief of Gus Poyet, who wants to see Cattermole and new signing Liam Bridcutt fighting it out for the defensive midfield role at Sunderland.
And Poyet says that while the heads of many players might have been messed with by what Cattermole has been through over the last week, the ex-Black Cats’ skipper will shrug transfer talk off and be immediately back to his best for Sunderland.
“I have no problems with Lee’s move not going through and neither will he, I know that,” Poyet told the Echo.
“I trust him and I had a very good, very long conversation with him the other day so I know him and I know where he is at.
“It was one of those things where I knew that if he stayed, no-one would be more committed to the cause than him.”
Cattermole’s new rival at Sunderland, Scottish international Bridcutt will be completely at home with Poyet’s passing style of play, causing many to wonder if the former Boro and Wigan man will have a place in the head coach’s plans.
But that’s a view which irritates Poyet, who admires Cattermole’s competitive and professional qualities.
“Lee’s character is fantastic and people have said to me that he is not my type of player but that is nonsense,” he said.
“Of all the players at the club, he’s the one who has played the defensive midfield role for me the best so far and if he was fit he would have been playing that role against Newcastle this weekend.
“He has also learned, he has learned what we want from him in that role and he has responded – he is getting better and of all the players here, he is among the ones showing most improvement.
“He has learned and learned about what we’ve wanted and has adapted very well.”
Cattermole’s non-departure was one of two midfield moves for Sunderland players that did not come off yesterday with West Brom reputed to be wanting to sign Craig Gardner.
Gardner is out of contract this summer and a move back to the West Midlands might have appealed with him enjoying only limited first-team action at Sunderland.
But in the end the move did not come off and that will offer Poyet even greater scope in selection as he looks to plot an escape route for Sunderland from the foot of the Premier League table while also competing for cup success on two fronts.