Let’s play a word association game based on Lee Cattermole. Authoritative, Fearless, Rock steady, Limited, Poor man’s Michael Carrick, shirt tucked in. There are many things that can be said about the Sunderland captain, but today, let’s talk about the way he tucks his shirt deep in to his shorts. In an age of footballers dyeing their hair, choreographed goal celebrations and designer tattoos, it’s refreshing that Lee Cattermole clearly doesn’t give a shit about image.
A man possessed
There aren’t many players that tuck their shirts in to their shorts these days. Some don’t even bother pulling their socks up and that is the primary reason Jack Grealish’s career has stagnated. Scott Parker, remember him? David Batty? Both players were similar to Cattermole in style. Doing the basics right in the centre of the park and zero time for looking pretty. Shirts always tucked in, no matter what.
Cattermole has been ridiculed in the past for his style (in both senses) on the pitch. His shirt is tucked so far down that if you look closely, there is often a glimpse of red and white stripes peeking out from the bottom of his shorts. This sends out the right signal. Sunderland supporters have been through the wringer over the past few years. They’ve had to ensure a David Moyes season where they finished rock bottom and annual relegation scraps before that. Darron Gibson called out a bunch of underperforming players in a drunken rant caught on video and his words actually resonated with a lot of fans.
That’s why Lee Catermole, for all his limitations, at least puts everything in to the game. It all starts with him grabbing his shirts and stuffing it down his shorts. One can imagine Cattermole staring at himself in the mirror to ensure that the shorts are just about reaching his belly button. The Sunderland leader must be appalled at the manner in which his teammates wear their shirts. In a football game that’s perhaps lost its soul to money and entertainment, thank god for the uncompromisingly unstylish Lee Cattermoles of this world.