Cattermole still feels responsibility of a captain despite losing armband (From The Advertiser Series)
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Cattermole still feels responsibility of a captain despite losing armband
LEE CATTERMOLE may not be in possession of the captain’s armband anymore, but the Sunderland midfielder insists he would feel responsible if the Black Cats are relegated this season.
Cattermole captained the Wearsiders before he suffered another serious knee injury last February, but the armband was taken off him and given to defender John O’Shea in his seven-month absence.
New manager Gus Poyet has opted to keep O’Shea as captain in his first couple of games in charge even though Cattermole has displayed his leadership qualities of old since returning to the fold.
The 25-year-old fell out-of-favour with Poyet’s predecessor Paolo Di Canio, but since his return the midfielder has demonstrated how important he is to the side with some impressive displays.
The Black Cats moved off the bottom of the Premier League following Sunday’s Wear-Tyne derby win over Newcastle, but with Poyet’s men still four points adrift of Stoke City in 17th, they are far from safe.
And Cattermole, who earned rave reviews for his performance at the weekend, admits he still feels the same responsibility as he did when he was captain.
“It’s not something I’ve ever wanted to do,” Cattermole admitted. “It’s not going to change me in any way by not having it (the captain’s armband). I still take the responsibility and if we go down it will kill me.
“I would have a terrible summer because that is the way I am. I take responsibility in any dressing room whether I’m captain or not.”
Having missed another big chunk of action this year, Cattermole has revealed his recent spell on the sidelines has helped mature him.
The 25-year-old has undertaken extra fitness work in a bid to stay injury free and has been doing things he wouldn’t necessarily have done in the past, something the former England under-21 international hopes will help bring the best out of him and he attempts to keep Sunderland in the top flight.
He said: “I want to stay fit, more about myself and I wanted to stay fit. That’s been my only problem here really.
“You can talk about suspensions but that was years ago. If I can stay fit and I am doing everything I can to do that during the week. I spend more time in the gym than I have in the past when I was a bit more old school.
“I didn’t really get involved in the shakes that you take, the core work and the leg weights. All of those are there to help us. I have a better understanding with the fitness coaches now. I am doing everything I can to stay on the pitch. If I stay on the pitch I think I can help Sunderland.
“The extra fitness work will stand me in good stead for the future. It’s match time what counts. After the next international break I think I will be really going well.
“I’ve worked hard and I’ve come back from a serious knee injury. I always felt if I got a chance to come back in I’d have a good season. I’ll do everything I can to help Sunderland get out of the position they are in.”
The Black Cats squad is still in the early stages of life under Poyet, but having endured a difficult time during Di Canio’s reign – which almost made him quit the club – Cattermole has revealed the early signs are encouraging from working with the new manager.
“He’s just tried to put his own mark down and work how he works,” Cattermole said. “He’s got us working with a higher intensity in training, but he is a lot more relaxed than the old manager. “He’s demanding of his players, but he wants us to enjoy our jobs. He’s always telling us what great jobs we have and we believe that, but nobody enjoys getting beat all the time especially footballers, who are very passionate about their sport. We’ve got to keep believe in him and ourselves.”
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