Lee Cattermole discusses a return to Sunderland as he reveals his long-term plans

Lee Cattermole says a return to Sunderland in a coaching capacity isn’t on his radar - but he is keen on a move back to England in the future.

Thursday, 31st October 2019, 11:38 am
Updated Friday, 1st November 2019, 12:31 pm

The midfielder departed the Stadium of Light in the summer, swapping Wearside for the Netherlands and top flight side VVV Venlo.

And while the 31-year-old is enjoying his new challenge in the Eredivise, he is already keeping a close eye on life after football - with management a serious possibility.

The midfielder has already begun pursuing his coaching badges and admits a return to the English game in a managerial role is his target.

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“It’s something I’m interested in, but it’s a difficult job,” said Cattermole, speaking to Football Oranje.

“That [a return to England] is obviously going to be the goal. That’s going to be the target, to hopefully to do that.

“At what level, I’m not sure, but I’m definitely going to do my coaching badges and I’m already studying the game. I have been for a number of years.

“I’m looking at what the coaches say here. Any sessions I like, I write them down and that’s why I’m here really - to learn.”

Lee Cattermole has discussed a potential return to Sunderland

During his decade on Wearside, Cattermole played under a host of managers - with large spells spent battling relegation from the Premier League.

And while on the face of it, those stints would provide little inspiration for a career in management, the former Middlesbrough man has taken some strands of knowledge from those scraps at the foot of the table.

“I think it’s trying to not look at the big, big picture,” he said.

“Try and focus on small goals. You’ve got to take your time, keep feeding on the positives and try not to look at the table too much.

“I believe you’ve got to be strong in terms of remembering those little targets every week.”

And one Sunderland manager in particular has proved a key source of inspiration for Cattermole - helping to shape his game in the final years of his playing career.

“Over the years I’ve gone in and out of how I’m approaching games - but I’ve found where I’m most comfortable in playing football now.

“Gus Poyet helped me with that. He helped me understand how to be on the pitch and really think about where I am, what I’m doing and I think that’s when I’m at my most comfortable on the pitch.

“I think I’ve got a lot more going through my head now, rather than just getting round the pitch and putting in tackles.

“I’m thinking more about the overall game and my mind is working all the time - which is where I feel most comfortable.”

And while Cattermole is considering a career in management, he isn’t focused on a return to Sunderland in a coaching capacity.

Although the midfielder admits he is keeping a close eye on his former teammates as they look to mount a promotion push from League One.

“That’s not something that’s on my mind,” he admitted, when quizzed on a return to the Stadium of Light.

“Obviously I’m following Sunderland. I had the first two months where I didn’t follow them, but now I’m following their results.

“It’s a team that I’ve given so much time to.”

Cattermole forged a close relationship with Jack Ross during his full season in charge of the Black Cats, and the midfielder was saddened to see his former manager dismissed earlier this month.

“I’m really disappointed for Jack Ross, because he has done a fantastic job there,” he added.

“But Sunderland’s goal is to go and get promoted this year, and hopefully they can do that.”

As for Cattermole, he will be looking to reclaim his spot in VVV Venlo’s starting line-up having dropped out of the fold in recent weeks.

Regardless of his involvement, though, the experienced midfielder is still relishing a ‘new experience’ after the rough and tumble of League One last term.

“Last season in League One, it was a lot more end-to-end.

“It’s man-to-man, take your chances and a bit more basketball like.

“Where I’m at in my career, I wanted a new challenge. I wanted a new experience and I’m getting that.

“I want to enjoy it as much as I can.”