This weekend Sunderland, who currently occupy a Championship relegation place and have many injuries, went to Wolverhampton Wanderers, the league leaders, and came away with a well-deserved point. The one downside to come from the game was the dismissal of midfielder Lee Cattermole.
When Sunderland were relegated to the Championship this year, it was thought by many that Cattermole would be ideal in the middle of the field. The Championship is a tough league and a player who can take the game by the ‘scruff of the neck’, get stuck in and rattle opponents like he can are invaluable. However, the tough-tackling midfielder has yet to show the form that he is capable of. Many fans believe he is past his best. Are Lee Cattermole’s best days behind him? In a recent Twitter poll by @LWOS_SAFC 89% of those that voted believed he was.
Lee Cattermole’s Best Days are Behind him
Bought by Steve Bruce, the midfielder was the type of player that fans love. The type who is not scared to tackle and put their body on the line. Many fans will tell you that second to a goal, a crunching tackle can really lift a crowd. Cattermole could lift a crowd. His tackling and passion made him a fan favourite.
During his early years at the club, he always had his disciplinary problems, some warranted, some due to an unfair reputation. As the seasons went on, he seemed to really show what he could do. Very rarely did he see red, but he still displayed the passion that fans love to see. He could tackle like the best (few Sunderland fans will forget him leaving Newcastle’s Jack Colback in a crumpled heap after a fair but very hard challenge) and on occasion could pass a ball that would make the likes of Glenn Hoddle applaud.
Injuries and the Championship
However, injuries began to take their toll. He missed a large part of last season as the Black Cats were relegated. A fit Cattermole however, in the Championship, could be a huge influence. Unfortunately, as yet, he has not shown the form and passion that made him a fan favourite. The injuries may have taken their toll, and although the passion and commitment may still be there, the Championship may now move that bit too quick for the tenacious midfielder.
Lee Cattermole will always have a place in the hearts of fans and will always have a place at the club. The midfielder is not finished but his days as an automatic starter may be coming to an end. Products of Sunderland’s academy are coming through and with the side struggling, things and personnel must change. Sadly there is little room for sentiment in today’s game and when players suffer a loss of form or injuries or age catches up with them, managers must act in the best interests of the team and club.
Still Has a Part to Play
Cattermole still has a part to play at Sunderland; however, it may not be during every game from now on. He is a passionate, committed player and person and this should be used to encourage others coming through that are the future of the club. If he was to move on, everyone would wish him well and he would be welcomed back at any time. If he is to stay, and many would be happy with this scenario, he would be an excellent squad player and someone who would provide inspiration to others.