Lee Cattermole is certainly a player not to shy away from a challenge. Though is he just a dirty player, perhaps one that should have been included in Danny Murphy’s outburst about teams that go out to be too physical and aggressive? Yet the player himself unsurprisingly agrees with the manger stating he’s not dirty just misunderstood and he doesn’t “think the game is competitive at all” so are we too quick to attack those who relish putting a challenge in.
His manager, Steve Bruce would appear to agree with Cattermole claiming he “is not a dirty player, he’s highly competitive.” And therefore appear to give Cattermole his full backing on the subject of tough tackling.
Cattermole himself believes that “Since serving my ban I’ve barely committed any fouls. I’m not counting, but it’s not many.”
However Cattermole is willing to place the blame for the reputation and cards that he’s picked up along the way. Saying that there are some that go out to stay down, milk it and “it all depends who you have kicked doesn’t it?” Appearing to neglect the fact that ideally you’re supposed to kick the ball and not the player, and therefore shouldn’t have too much experience on how different players react to being directly kicked.
It is possibly a sign that the player doesn’t go into each game or each tackle with the best intentions. His manager at Sunderland, Steve Bruce, also contradicts himself with regards to Cattermole as the Sunderland captain claimed “he came up and said ‘I don’t want you to make a tackle tomorrow.’ If you have to pull out of a challenge, do so.” It seems strange advice to impart on one of your players if you feel their tackling is not dirty just highly competitive. You cannot fully support a player and his attitude on the pitch when at the same time telling them they should not be making tackles, presumably because you are aware they are too reckless and the player will probably get into trouble.
Red Cards in his brief career = 5
Yellow Cards in his career = 23
Certainly the most recent recipient of one of these highly competitive challenges, Luka Modric, believes he was lucky to walk away with his career intact. Stating “Players who tackle like that need to think before making a tackle because they can ruin careers of friends and professionals.” The Croatian is hardly one to be associated with what Cattermole described as soft players who milk it, having plied his trade in the Bosnian League for a while. It is a league which has a reputation for being extremely physical and is not for the faint hearted.
Also despite is tough persona and attitude about the physicality of the game, he’s also partial to the odd dive as demonstrated by this clip against Blackburn.