Dick Advocaat believes securing the services of Lee Cattermole for the next SIX years is vital to Sunderland’s future success.
The midfielder has committed his long-term future to the Black Cats by signing a new deal to keep him at the club until 2021.
He is a motivator, a leader and central to the success of our teamDick Advocaat
And Advocaat has heaped praise on influential Cattermole, who he describes as the “controller” of his side.
Tough-tackling Cattermole’s new deal ends speculation about his future, having recently been linked again with a move to Stoke City.
Cattermole was due to enter the final 12-months of his deal at the Stadium of Light, but officials were always quietly confident that a deal could be struck to extend the Teessider’s stay on Wearside.
“Lee is the controller of the side,” said head coach Advocaat.
“He is a motivator, a leader and central to the success of our team.
“To know that he will be with us for many years to come is very important to the club.”
Cattermole joined the Black Cats in 2009 from Wigan on an initial four-year deal, before signing an extension to his contract in October 2012, keeping him on Wearside until 2016.
The 27-year-old, a former England Under-21 international, has now signed a new five-year extension, committing his future to the club until 2021.
There had been initial talks over recent months, with ex-Middlesbrough man Cattermole and his representative, but the uncertainty over the influential midfielder’s future had prompted talk of a move elsewhere.
Stoke were linked with a fresh interest in Cattermole two months ago after coming desperately close to signing him in January 2014.
But Sunderland, who made it a priority, were always hopeful a new deal could be struck to extend his stint as the club’s longest-serving first-teamer.
Lee Congerton, Sunderland’s sporting director, added: “Lee is a hugely important part of our team, both on and off the field.
“He has 10 years of experience playing in the Barclays Premier League, which is incredible when you consider he is still only 27 years old, and we are delighted that he has committed his long-term future to Sunderland.”
Cattermole excelled under Advocaat after the Dutchman arrived in March, tasked with keeping Sunderland in the Premier League, playing a key role in the five-match unbeaten run that sealed the club’s top-flight status.
The North East Football Writers’ Player of the Year made 28 appearances last season and is now just three games shy of 150 Sunderland appearances.
Having made his professional debut with Boro in 2005 at the tender age of 17, Cattermole has played a total of 273 senior career games in all competitions.