Ahead of Sunday, Steve McClaren has been talking up the ‘talents’ of Lee Cattermole.

Describing him as a ‘good footballer’, McClaren says that he has done even better than he thought he would do.

Lee Cattermole has probably personified Sunderland to Newcastle fans, more than any other player.

The fact that Newcastle have lost five times in a row to permanent relegation strugglers led by Cattermole, sums up just how desperate United have been, to allow this to happen.

Steve McClaren talking to Sky:

“He has done better than I thought he would do, he has done terrifically well.

“We gave him his debut in a derby game and he was excellent, man of the match.

“To see him go on and become the kind of player he has, he’s a good footballer as well, he has done very well. Very good.”

It was 2 January 2006 when the match took place that Steve McClaren refers to, Newcastle v Middlesbrough at St James Park.

Lee Cattermole made his debut as 17 year old and the match ended 2-2.

These were the desperate last days of the Graeme Souness regime, having just about completed his task of ruining everything that Sir Bobby Robson had built at St James Park.

Newcastle had lost their last two Premier League matches and would lost their next three, the final ones before Souness was thankfully sacked.

Worth taking a look at some of the players who lined up in the team that Graeme Souness had moulded, only 16 months after Sir Bobby left the club.

The centre-backs were Boumsong and Bramble (who SBR signed), Lee Clark, Nobby Solano and Robbie Elliott who were all in their thirties by now and back for second spells at the club.

Then we had some real stars such as Amdy Faye and Albert Luque, along with local lads Shola Ameobi and Peter Ramage who weren’t up to standard but did their best.

Completing the line-up were Alan Shearer and Shay Given, just what they must have thought of what Graeme Souness had achieved in just over a year, from the team that Sir Bobby built to this mess.

Nobby Solano gave Newcastle the lead in that Middlesbrough match before two goals for Boro looked to have won it, only for Lee Clark to score in the dying seconds.

I can’t remember Lee Cattermole that night and the only times he stands out for me are when he puts in yet another shocking tackle/assault.

If Steve McClaren is still singing the praises of Lee Cattermole after Sunday’s match, then I think we all need to start really worrying.