Lee Cattermole’s return to the Sunderland team coincided with an upturn in results, and his personal performances against Gillingham and Bristol Rovers were both of a high standard.
He seems to have been at the Stadium of Light forever and his time at the club has been eventful to say the least.
There’s been many times its looked like his time was up, but he always bounces back. Whenever he’s been out of the team, through injury or a dip in form, there’ve been calls for his departure, but he’s nothing if not resilient and his character and determination can never be questioned.
For all his so called limitations, I certainly think he adds something and I’ve said this before, and I’m still of the belief that Sunderland are usually a better team when he’s in it.
Now he’s back in the starting XI, I hope he stays there for the remaining games because if there’s anything the team needs now, it’s strong, mentally tough players.
With every game from now to the season’s end, the pressure is only going to be cranked up higher. We might even end up in the play-offs – I hope not but it’s possible – and if so these are high profile games that many of our players won’t have experienced.
Not so Cattermole, who has come through derby games and big Premier League relegation scraps. He’s battle-hardened, both physically and mentally.
At the start of the season there was talk of him earning too much – that’s not his fault, he was offered a contract, he signed it, and most of us would do the same.
I don’t care how much people earn, whether they’re paid too much or too little, as long as they give everything, and from what I see and hear, Lee Cattermole does that.
Overpaid players who don’t give everything or even care, there’s your problem, and we’ve probably had too many of those over the last few years.
Cattermole, I believe, can still contribute to Sunderland – as soon as he can’t I’ll be the first to want him out.
However, I wouldn’t bet against him being a major influence at Sunderland, certainly until the end of next season and maybe even next.