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Cattermole captaincy role is under scrutiny
Published : 13 Sep 2010 11:15:14
STEVE BRUCE has revealed that Lee Cattermole's disciplinary problems are putting his status as Sunderland's team captain in serious jeopardy, with talks planned between the pair in the next 48 hours. Bruce is reluctant to strip Cattermole of the captaincy just four matches in to the Premier League season, but fears he will be left with little choice if there are no signs of improvement. The 22-year-old midfielder received his second red card in three league matches since he was handed the armband for the opening match with Birmingham City on August 14. Cattermole lasted just 43 minutes of the opener and, in a similar turn of events, he was dismissed inside 22 minutes in the 1-1 draw at Wigan on Saturday. He will now serve the second suspension of a season still very much in the embryonic stage, meaning he will be missing for the visit of Arsenal on Saturday and the Carling Cup tie with West Ham a week tomorrow. I made a big decision in the summer to give him the captaincy and I will review it in the next week or so, said Bruce. I will take my time and see. It might be the responsibility is a bit too much for him. I'll have that conversation with him and think about it over the next week or so. We keep repeating ourselves, but it is quite simple. Possibly he gets too wound up for games. He wanted to do well and started brightly. In fact, he started off terrifically. But obviously it was a silly challenge that he made when he has already had the yellow card. On a day when Wayne Rooney was kept out of the firing line by Sir Alex Ferguson at Everton, Bruce was asked whether he should have refrained from playing Cattermole against his former club. Cattermole was subjected to the usual disrespectful chants from his former supporters that ex-players tend to get at their old homes, something which Bruce was not even thinking about. The people here know how well he did for Wigan. He has got nothing to prove, said Bruce, who took the player to Wigan from Middlesbrough for £3.5m in 2008. Maybe he got himself hyped up too much and he has got to learn from it. Of course, the crowd played their part in the first booking. Every challenge he makes, they were going to. I never want to see bookings, but certainly with Lee, he makes a challenge and it seems to be a yellow card. But I make no excuses once he has got that yellow card he has to learn to be careful. There is an extra responsibility for players when they come back to their old clubs and the crowd are on their back and he has got to sort himself out. Emmerson Boyce, his former Wigan team-mate, thinks that Cattermole will become one of the best midfielders around if he curbs his card problems. It's in his nature to want to make telling tackles, and it seems like the possibility of picking up a yellow card does not enter his head. That's good in one way because you don't want to go in half-hearted but you have to learn when to hold back a bit, and that comes with experience, said Boyce. He's still very young, and he is a terrific player with a great future. And he'll get better at making those decisions. When he cuts out the rash tackles he's going to be a very big player maybe what's happened to him here is part of that growing-up process. With other strong challenges going unpunished by referee Andre Marriner, Bruce could have been more critical of the official. Last season, Marriner felt the wrath of the Sunderland chief on a couple of occasions, leading to a £2,500 fine when he suggested the referee's decision to send off Michael Turner at Manchester City in December was a joke, obscene and an outrage. Bruce also criticised Marriner when he opted to send off Kenwyne Jones at West Ham last season, but Cattermole was the only target the manager had in mind this time. Unquestionably, he has a name for himself. He made four or five excellent tackles in the first 20 minutes and that is him, said Bruce, knowing Cattermole has been sent off five times during a young career. He is competitive. He wants to try to win the ball. But in this day and age there has got to be something that switches on and he learns from it otherwise he is going to be in serious trouble.He could have half his career frittered away with suspensions.