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Bruce confident of Cattermole's credentials
Published : 24 Sep 2010 09:20:24
STEVE Bruce has confirmed that Lee Cattermole will captain the side at Anfield after completing his second suspension of the season. Cattermole, dismissed at Wigan a fortnight ago, was branded a born winner by the Sunderland manager yesterday but stressed the need for the Stockton-born midfielder to learn his lesson. Bruce said: Lee could not have wished for a tougher baptism to come back into it [at Anfield] but I am convinced it was the right thing to do when I gave the captaincy to him, and I am still convinced in the long term Sunderland will benefit with Lee Cattermole as club captain. I think he has learned. We have had many conversations and I didn't have to say anything in the first four or five days because he was distraught. When people are up against it, sometimes they need support he has got my full support. I hope he can be captain for years to come. Bruce repeated his claims that Cattermole has been the subject of harsh refereeing a claim that may stand up if you consider the former Middlesbrough midfielder has, said Bruce, made five tackles this season and got four yellow cards. Bruce said: If you look through and see the challenges he is unlucky to be booked first time against Birmingham and Wigan. I said he was silly at Wigan when he was on a yellow card but if you watch Wednesday night's game [Newcastle's at Chelsea] I was thinking for some of the challenges, if that's Lee Cattermole it's a yellow card'. And Bruce thinks that Cattermole could be the catalyst for a strong Sunderland performance on Merseyside tomorrow, and that Sunderland were poorer against the Hammers on Tuesday without him. I like everything about him, and the way he trains and plays he can lift a team you can see how much of a driving force he is, said Bruce. When you see Scott Parker running around on Tuesday night, you are crying out for Lee all I can hope is for everyone gives him fair crack of whip, and that means referees too, and if he does pick up a card it will be the ultimate test to see how he copes with it. Sometimes you have to stand by the decision you make and I thought long and hard about it but gave it to him because of his age and the way he is and of course if there is one regret it is because he has been sent off twice which may not have mattered if he was not captain. He does not have to prove what a good player he is to me I bought him twice. He needs to get playing, to get match fit and used to the big-match cauldron again and I am convinced he will be okay. I would not want his playing career blighted by disciplinary record because we should be talking about him as a good player.