LEE CATTERMOLE has not ruled out a late charge towards the England squad for this summer’s European Championships.
The Black Cats skipper has been Sunderland’s driving force under Martin O’Neill and believes his run of form deserves recognition from Three Lions boss Fabio Capello.
Cattermole made 16 appearances for the England U21 side, but is yet to come under consideration for the senior set-up despite the likes of former international team-mates James Milner, Adam Johnson and Gabby Agbonlahor all earning full caps.
“Well, I think I am playing well and if you get the nod, you get the nod don’t you?” said the 23-year-old.
“I believe in myself and I have done well for the Under-21s in the past.
“Other people have progressed into the full squad in the past so it is something I am aiming to do.”
Cattermole was one of Steve Bruce’s most trusted lieutenants and became a scapegoat when the flak was flying at the former Sunderland boss before his November dismissal.
But O’Neill has injected new life into the midfielder, who has played a key role in Sunderland taking 16 points from eight games under their new manager.
Cattermole said: “It’s the first time I have had a manager been sacked and I was devastated for Steve and absolutely gutted for him.
“But a new voice has come in and straight away, you just want to impress and that’s what you do.
“But just winning games as well, people automatically start to say you are playing better.
“We are just winning games. It is not necessarily everyone is playing better, it’s winning games.
“The confidence is there and it’s great. We have been flying. We have had a great start, it couldn’t have gone any better under the new manager.
“We are playing well, we just need to keep our feet on the ground and keep working hard and not get too carried away.”
Stockton-born Cattermole comes up against former club Middlesbrough in this Sunday’s Wear-Tees derby as Sunderland look to advance beyond the FA Cup fourth round for the first time since 2004.
Cattermole added: “We need to have a good cup run. It’s my third season here now and we haven’t got past the first couple of rounds, so it would be nice for everyone.
“It’s going to be tough for us.
“Boro have been doing well – I know they have had a couple of bad results in the last few weeks, but they are a good side, so we are going to have to approach it right.”