Lee Cattermole opens up on Sunderland's relegation and the appointment of Simon Grayson

Cattermole is enjoying his first pre-season in years
Cattermole is enjoying his first pre-season in years
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Lee Cattermole was no different to any Sunderland fan this summer.

As the search for a new manager went on, the 29-year-old was checking the odds, looking for the latest news, to see who would be tasked with the mammoth task of rebuilding Sunderland.

There were the big names, Ryan Giggs at one stage short odds, and the slightly less heralded.

Simon Grayson was one of those, but his appointment was a relief for the midfielder.

Now fully fit again for the first time in years, he is hungry for the season ahead and thinks the Black Cats have got the appointment just right.

"I kept looking at the next manager odds throughout the summer, everyone gets excited about the big names, but I honestly don’t think that’s what we needed," he said.

"He’s got a lot of experience in the football league, that’s what we need, particularly in recruitment. Since he has come in, his approach to training, the way we’re going to work, he’s been different class. We just need to buy into and trust what he says because he knows the league better than most. It isn’t always going to be pretty football but you need to find that way to win."

Cattermole has been a veteran of Sunderland's exhausting great escapes from years gone by but last season proved one bridge too far. Struggling with injury for most of the season, by the time he returned the game was all but up.

Now the likes of himself, John O'Shea and a number of other squad players will have to steel themselves for life in the notoriously difficult second tier.

For Cattermole, it has the potential to be a positive, escaping the draining relegation battles and building a positive atmosphere at the club.

He said: "The North East is renowned for the passion of the fans, sometimes that can go the other way when you’re playing better teams [in the Premier League] and you have that expectation as well. That’s where you need the right characters, people who can handle it, people who can get the fans behind you.

"We know they’ll be there with us, and once the start of the season comes round, they’re getting a good vibe off the manager, he suits the club, he’s from the North and very straightforward. I’ve been really impressed and I think he’ll pull us all altogether.

"Honestly we’ve had four, five years where nothing has changed. It might be the best thing, to get out the spotlight, have a look at things, rebuild the squad, because we need hungry players who want to come here with a point to prove and to make a name for themselves at Sunderland," he added.

"We need players who know the league, I’ve been 12 years in the Premier League, and a lot of those you’re just trying to hang in there, win games, get a draw. Hopefully now we can fight at the top and get a different energy around the place."