Why this Sunderland man is better than Daniele De Rossi

Bear with me.

Lee Cattermole is a defensive midfielder; he is the boiler that keeps Sunderland ticking over. Admittedly Sunderland aren’t doing very well at the moment, although that’s not entirely Cattermole’s fault, he hasn’t had it all easy like Daniele De Rossi and his glamorous Roman lifestyle.

The Teesside born brute doesn’t need the tattoos to confirm his hard man status; instead he relies on an honest black pair of boots and a truly awful disciplinarily record. His penchant for leg-breaking tackles often overshadows the useful things he does do on a football pitch.

Last season Cattermole made more blocks, tackles and clearances than De Rossi, and by quite a margin. Many might argue that De Rossi’s AS Roma will have more possession of the ball compared to Sunderland and they would be right.

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However, the stats speak for themselves and Cattermole’s attributes are clearly more befitting of a classic defensive midfielder.

Furthermore it is surely not a coincidence that Paolo Di Canio, an Italian manager with a potential bias towards De Rossi, stripped Cattermole of the Sunderland captaincy in 2014. Those of you who know your Italian football might point towards the fact that Di Canio is a former Lazio man, the arch rivals of AS Roma, but I did say bear with me.

Anyway had Cattermole been nurtured by the Roma academy rather than the Middlesborough academy, perhaps his technical attributes would have improved as a result, thus making him a more appealing proposition like De Rossi.

Cattermole has represented England at all youth levels, many might have even predicted that he would become a future England captain, unlike his Italian counterpart who still bears the nickname Captain Futuro, despite being 32-years-old.

At 17 years of age Cattermole made his debut for Middlesborough, and earned a man of the match performance after leading his team to a 2-2 draw with Newcastle United, he was praised by then Boro boss Steve McClaren for his tireless work rate and impressive leadership skills.

Cattermole is a rough diamond, he is often ignored due to the prejudice that surrounds his ascent to the top. Cattermole is a left-wing product of football who is un-fancied by the FA and their academics. De Rossi on the other hand suffers from no such prejudice; he is a product of a prestigious global brand, which is a stepping-stone to an illustrious international career.

Now that De Rossi has retreated into defence at his old age, I implore AS Roma to sign Cattermole and allow the man from Stockton-On-Tees to lead Roma’s glorious claret army.

In England we are not overwhelmed with defensive midfield options, so when players like Cattermole show promise, as his statistics from last season prove, they should not be ignored just because they don’t play for a so-called big side. Cattermole is the antithesis of the over-paid Premier League show pony, and that’s just what England needs.