Sam Allardyce hails Lee Cattermole as Sunderland's 'driving force'

Lee Cattermole has been highlighted as one of the club's key survival figures.

Sam Allardyce hails Lee Cattermole as Sunderland's 'driving force'
Image: Daily Star

Sam Allardyce has named Lee Cattermole as Sunderland’s pivotal figure in their bid for Premier League survival.

The Sunderland boss has hailed Cattermole as the club’s “driving force” for their relegation run in.

Although Sunderland’s longest serving player was dropped to the bench last month, at the expense of Jack Rodwell. But after impressing the manager in training, Cattermole was recalled to Sunderland’s midfield trio, alongside Jan Kirchhoff and Yann M’Vila.

Return to the side

Allardyce was impressed with the midfielder’s reaction after being dropped, and handed him the captain’s armband. After being given the captaincy, Cattermole has played a massive part in Sunderland’s venture away from the bottom three.

The Wearsiders have picked up five points from four games following the 28-year-old’s return to the side.

And Big Sam believes that Cattermole’s qualities are exactly what Sunderland need to remain in the top flight.

He said, “Having that driving force in midfield is very important in the engine room.”

Allardyce highlighted that Cattermole’s “grit, desire, drive and determination” makes him able to “lead the team and make them feel good".

The anchorman’s reliability was sounded out by the Black Cats boss, “We can rely on him to break up the opposition’s attacks, close their danger men down and use it well."

He added, “Alongside [Jan] Kirchhoff, who intercepts more balls than anyone we’ve ever had, that’s a key factor why defending has become a bit easier for us.”

After trying desperately since he arrived, to get more clean sheets, Allardyce’s persistence has finally paid dividends as his side have kept three in four games. The Wearsiders had initially fail to keep one since the end of November.

Passion. | Image source: Getty Images
Passion. | Image source: Getty Images

Attacking prowess

With an attacking force including Jermain Defoe, Wahbi Khazri, and Fabio Borini, Allardyce is well assured that his squad have the attacking power to survive. But the manager knows all too well that defensive unity will provide best platform for safety.

Allardyce conceded that “you’ve got have some quality and passion” but noted that resilience was also key, “you’ve also got to have one that’s resilient when not in possession to stop the opposition scoring.”

He continued, “The fewer mistakes we can make now, the better chance we’ve got of winning."

Allardyce then concluded, “It will be the opposition capitalising on our mistakes, rather than them creating wonderful goals, which hurts us.”