Lee Cattermole criticism warranted, but Sunderland keyboard warriors still miss point of Coleman's praise

For the second time in two games, a Sunderland midfielder was sent off after accruing an extremely silly second yellow card.

Thursday, 14th December 2017, 10:48 am
Updated Thursday, 14th December 2017, 10:55 am
Lee Cattermole was sent off against Wolves.

Lee Cattermole’s dismissal at Wolves wasn’t quite as daft as Callum McManaman’s against Reading. But that isn’t much of a compliment.

The patience of the fans is wearing thin with Cattermole. Even if we overlook Saturday’s red card (his first in four years to be fair), he hasn’t brought much to the party in recent times.

Cattermole's lack of pace has affected his tackling.

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He was injured for most of last season and has looked increasingly off the pace in this one.

Contrary to popular belief, he isn’t an assassin. He has committed many, many fouls in a Sunderland shirt, but none of them were Barton-esque leg breakers. Referees know they can wrongly book him and not be criticised. It’s Lee Cattermole.

But the his increasing lack of pace has seen his bookings become sillier and (even) more frequent. His pair at Molineux makes it eight yellows in 12 games.

And as for his passing...

Cattermole's lack of pace has affected his tackling.

Although still three months short of 30, Cattermole looks to have passed his peak. One injury too many?

Criticism is warranted. But, as ever, the keyboard equivalent of a torch lit lynch mob has surfaced on various regions of the internet. They want him hung, drawn, quartered and sold; although I can’t help thinking that they might have this in the wrong order.

It may be in everyone’s interests if Cattermole were to seek challenges elsewhere. He is contracted until the summer of 2021, by which time he will be 34. This seems a better deal for the player than the club.

However, on the surface of it Chris Coleman does not agree.

Manager expressed sympathy for player, adding: “Lee is important to us.”

This had the shoutier element out there, particularly the ones with the pathological inability to ever say anything good about SAFC, biting their laptops.

I suspect that Mr Coleman is not as dazzled by Cattermole as implied. If I am right and he shares in the widely held misgivings, then saying so might not be the shrewdest move if what he really wants is to move him on. You talk him up, not down.

Not that the online posse see it that way. They aren’t always wrong, but they serially fail to understand that supplanting name calling with constructive criticism is not a sign of weakness.

In fairness, it should be mentioned that some of these people actually attend matches.