Writer: Andrew Powell
Date:Thursday July 1 2010
Lee Cattermole goes into the new season with a lot more going for him than being the only player in the premier league to have a name consisting of more than one animal (which has to be some kind of record in itself?).
Like many other young English talent, the campaign ahead is laced with open doors and opportunity. Never has so much attention been placed upon developing young players.
With Capello's old timers fishing for glory at the world cup but merely catching catastrophe, the upper echelons of the F.A will be scrutinising home grown talent with their beady little eagle eyes like never before. You can guarantee it; for they will want (and need) to gauge who possesses even an iota of the ingredients needed to make the step up into what has to be a new era for the national team. Cattermole, like Richards, Welbeck, Rodwell, Johnson, Wilshire, Gibbs, Hart and Gabby Agbonlahor will be highly considered in this category. That is why the season ahead is such a great opportunity for these young footballers.
The nation is crying out almost desperately for a fresh bunch of faces and the immediate season will prove to be an excellent stage to demonstrate and see what we have in the locker, or, alas, what we do not.
If Lee can remain fit and in form he has the ability to raise the attention of the national management (who ever that may be).
When we look at the debacle that was South Africa, where England posed more of a danger to themselves than the prostitution rackets and crime lords did (as so heavily tooted before hand), we could see a team of overpaid, underplayed wasters who made it seem like playing for your country was more a chore than a blessing. It was easy to see that the players lacked many things but perhaps most importantly, they lacked effort, commitment and dedication.
Lee Cattermole is constructed on these elements. Fair enough, you will not see him nut-meg one and dribble his way through two more but you will see him win the ball and try to charge through three. You may NOT see him cracking 30 yard free-kicks into the top right corner of the net on a weekly basis but you WILL see him clashing into 50/50 challengers of the sort that softer players would fairy dance to avoid. You will NOT see trickery and a prolific attacker but you WILL see the grit, the dignity, the bravery and the dedication that England need. The door is wide open for someone like him.
Commitment and effort are what you get from our midfielder and you have to consider, if goals were to be added to his game he could potentially be a top class player. You can see glimpses of a young Paul Scholes while he has that same bite shown by Roy Keane in his prime. The bite that home fans loved and away teams hated for it is the commitment in that aplomb that scares he who plays against him. I dont want to over hype the lad - too many players are over hyped in this country, nudge, nudge, wink, wink - as he is not a complete player just yet but with time, the potential we see on the pitch very well could blossom into such.
That is why the 10/11 season is going to be such a big year for all young English footballers because for once, the country has been forced to look to the future rather than the present as we did while living in the past. For once the nations eyes will not be cast upon the 'stars' of today but what stars we could possibly grow for tomorrow.
Cattermole has to be a huge candidate for the long term national squad. If he can realise his potential over the next seasons, it will not only be a bonus for himself and the country but for his club too and if he does this while at Sunderland it will be great to know that the Black Cats helped put a touch of graft, dedication and passion back into what has become a spineless pride of pussy cats rather than Lions. If he can do it in the Premier league there is no reason at all why he cant do it against the same world class players on the international stage. Of course, this is all 'what if's' and 'hope so's'.
The real challenge lies ahead, not only for the individual but for the greatest football crazy nation on the planet.
The time is now.
'Andrew Powell is a young novelist born here in Sunderland. His debut novel - The Ark - is available at Waterstones, and most other retailers. You can follow Andy on his facebook page:
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Date:Thursday July 1 2010
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