Gary Rowell: Cattermole v Tiote is the big derby battle

Lee Cattermole

Lee Cattermole

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SUNDERLAND’S key player this weekend is undoubtedly Lee Cattermole.

I was so glad he didn’t pick up a booking on Saturday against West Brom because he could be Sunderland’s inspiration this Sunday.

For me, the crucial battle will be between him and Cheik Tiote for control of the centre of the park. I rate Tiote and I believe the duel between those two could be pivotal in deciding the outcome of the game.

Cattermole has produced much more mature performances under Martin O’Neill and has been man-of-the-match in the last two games at least.

How he performs on Sunday will be very important.

He needs to produce his best and most disciplined performance this weekend and he needs to lead by example – get an early booking in a game like that and it can be a nightmare for the remainder of the game.

Martin O’Neill mentioned the other week that in his view, Cattermole couldn’t have been too far away from coming into contention for Stuart Pearce’s England selection.

If Cattermole is able to influence and even dictate some of the game on Sunday, Sunderland will have a real chance.

H It was fantastic news for Fraizer Campbell and for Sunderland that he was called up into the senior England squad for tomorrow’s game against Holland at Wembley.

The selection came completely out of the blue and I’m sure that even Sunderland fans would not have expected it.

It’s remarkable to think that of the five England strikers selected, three of them have Sunderland connections. Even more remarkable that at one point Danny Welbeck, Darren Bent and Fraizer Campbell were set to form three of Sunderland’s four strikers for the season!

I’m absolutely made up for Fraizer because he comes across as such a down-to-earth nice guy and after what he has been through, he deserves every bit of good luck he can get.

Serious injuries are the bane of a footballer’s life. The worst thing. A really bad one really brings you down.

And for Fraizer to come through two consecutive ones and bounce back the way he has is a great credit to his character.

It will be a proud moment for him, his family and for Sunderland and its fans if we get to see him on the Wembley turf tomorrow with the Three Lions on his shirt.

READ the full column in Tuesday’s Echo