Lee Cattermole is reportedly ready to trade in his hatchet for a metal implement of far greater moral and physical heft as he bids to become England’s next midfield anchorman.
The Sunderland destroyer revealed to the Daily Mail that he has been energised by the chance afforded to former Black Cats colleague Jack Colback in recent weeks.
Roy Hodgson’s decision to blood the man someone, somewhere once called ‘the ginger Pirlo’ and Fabian Delph means that, after much heated debate, the bwin odds gurus are laying Cattermole to be capped before 1 June 2015 at as short as 1/3.
Cattermole credits manager Gus Poyet as improving his game since the Uruguyan’s arrival at the Stadium of Light, telling the tabloid:
‘…Poyet sides have a big role for the defensive midfielder. Since the manager has come in I have adapted my game to what he wants and that is pure and simple, a defensive midfielder. I have learnt an unbelievable amount since he came here.’
But how does the new-look ‘Clattermole’ compare to Colback, Delph and Jack Wilshere, his likely rivals for the position in the immediate future?
The Middlesbrough product will need to show more willingness to get on the ball if he is to convince Roy Hodgson he can facilitate attacks from deep.
He’s averaged far less passes (35.67) per 90 minutes, than the other members of the would-be holders quartet, with Delph next-least prolific on 49, albeit completing those distributions at an 88 per cent success rate that only Colback can better.
Yet to play a single key pass this term, his former Wearside colleague once again tops the shop with 1.67 per 90, a whole opportunity created more than next-best Delph.
Without the ball
Here Cattermole has a claim for inclusion, with his two interceptions per 90 minutes testifying to a greater game-reading capacity than his rivals.
Likewise he averages he leads the quartet for tackles won.
However, surprisingly for a man with a none-more agricultural reputation he wins a mere mean 30.30 per cent of his total duels across 90 minutes this term.
That’s less than half the percentage won by Delph, the most prolific victor in tete-tetes with 61.67, and fewer than Wilshere (42.11) and Colback (37.50) to boot.