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Flashback: 2009 signing Lee Cattermole became a popular figure at Sunderland despite outside doubts

In our latest instalment of the Flashback series, we take a look back at a certain moment and look at how things might have changed those initial reactions.

Having already featured in a UEFA Cup final during his time at Middlesbrough, 21-year-old Lee Cattermole joined Sunderland from Wigan Athletic in a £6m deal in 2009, as reported by The Telegraph.

Steve Bruce’s comments from The Guardian, made when signing the midfielder, show how highly the then-Sunderland manager regarded him: “He’s fiercely competitive, driven, very like Roy. When Roy was younger he had the same dynamism. Lee reminds me of him in his attitude for the game. He is a born winner.”

Cattermole would go nowhere near reaching the Manchester United icon’s level of achievement, but he did mirror parts of his grit and determination, which in turn led to him becoming a popular figure among many Sunderland fans.

The midfielder went on to play 262 times for the Black Cats during his 10 years at the club, with his dedication to the cause being highlighted in an interview with The Guardian, in which he disclosed that he had played for years with a torn hip, relying on painkillers to get through games.

This is the type of willingness to suffer that was absent from many of Cattermole’s teammates towards the end of his time at the Stadium of Light, with Jack Rodwell having his contract terminated in 2018 after Chris Coleman – and pretty much the whole of Sunderland – questioning his mentality, as reported by BBC Sport.

Cattermole’s professionalism and dedication to the club even extended to his mutually agreed departure in the summer of 2019, which saw him join VVV-Venlo.

Following two painful relegations in a row and then the League One play-off final loss against Charlton Athletic, by leaving the Stadium of Light, he allowed the club to get out of an agreement that could prove unsustainable and therefore helped them to reinvest, as reported by The Sunderland Echo.

From start to finish, Cattermole gave his all to the club and many fans showed their appreciation for that, meaning that despite the hardship he faced at the club and the mocking he faced from fans of other teams, he will be fondly remembered at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland fans, what are your biggest memories of Cattermole? Join the discussion by commenting below…

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Flashback: 2009 signing Lee Cattermole became a popular figure at Sunderland despite outside doubts
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