Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Saturday June 20 2009
Whilst the rest of his Wigan Athletic team-mates are enjoying the summer sun on a beach somewhere relaxing, Lee Cattermole is at the centre of the England midfield as the national under 21 squad look to do something their senior counterparts have never done, win a European Championship.
The Latics midfield man has starred in the group stages with England brushing aside Finland and Spain to qualify for the semi-finals with one game still to play and he felt that the Spain game showed just how good this current batch are, Cattermole told reporters:
'We knew it was a big game and we could potentially end up in the semi-finals of a European Championship'
'There was a lot at stake and the lads played very well, we were very tight and hard to break down. We limited their chances, kicked on second half and created our own.'
Cattermole says that under Pearce they are playing a counter attack system with himself, West Hams Mark Noble and Bolton`s Fabrice Muamba holding the midfield and inviting teams onto them then hitting with pace through players like Arsenals Theo Walcott and Aston Villa forward Gabby Abonglahor, he continued:
'We like to set a high tempo'
'We like inviting teams on to us because we've got a lot of pace up front. We showed that with the goals we scored - if anyone gives us a chance we're on to it. For the last two or three weeks in training we've been playing on a lot of wet surfaces and it's been tremendous, the attitude has been fantastic. There's real belief about us at the minute.'
Cattermole claims this is the best under 21 squad that he has been with and he believes that they have a real good chance of going on to win the tournament, he continued:
'It's the best squad I've been involved in'
'Training's at such a high level and with the competition for places it must be so hard for the gaffer to pick the team. I don't think we're over the top thinking we're going to go on and win the tournament but we know we've got a good chance.'
Now they face Germany in the last group match with either hosts Sweden or Italy awaiting in the semi-final and Cattermole knows the importance of staying focused and not letting the momentum slip, he finished with
'We'll look at Germany and prepare for that'
'We're looking to win the group. We want to keep an unbeaten run for as long as possible; if you switch off it's very hard to turn yourself back on.'
With Cattermole away on under 21 duty, speculation has been rife about his future at the Latics with many media outlets linking the talented 20 year old with a move to Sunderland and teaming up again with old boss Steve Bruce but the player himself is quick to play down such rumours, when asked recently would he miss Bruce Cattermole replied that he would but that`s the nature of football and he is looking forward to meeting his new boss, he said:
'Yes definitely, I had a good year last year and he brought me to Wigan so it is a bit of a shame, but that's football.
'Managers change, players change all the time so hopefully I'll be able to do the same for Martinez.'
On the matter of leaving the Latics club chairman Dave Whelan is also adamant saying that he is staying put with the footnote of claiming that he is just irreplaceable, Whelan says:
'Lee is not going anywhere'
'You just cannot replace these kind of players.'
Back to the European Championships and England will face Germany on Tuesday in their final group game with the semi-final on Friday 26th June and hopefully Lee Cattermole will be in the England midfield for the final on Monday 29th June and back for pre-season at the Latics two weeks later.
You can listen to the Latics Speyk podcasts now by clicking on the player here:
Date:Saturday June 20 2009
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