The Sunderland star whose absence has proven he's irreplaceable

Sunderland's Lee Cattermole has been out since the end of December 2014 with injury.

Sunderland's poor form of late has only served to highlight how important Lee Cattermole is to the side. 

Cattermole has been derided by neutrals before, with his limitations too easy to focus on, but he is an almost irreplaceable player for the Sunderland side.

His aggressive nature helps the Black Cats to win the midfield battle and without his presence it has been all too easy to break them down. 

Gus Poyet said in an interview with the club's website that he has designed a 'special role' for Cattermole and it has already been evident that no other member of the squad can perform it. 

Sunderland's form was by no means perfect with Cattermole, but since his injury their form has taken a turn for the worse.

The North East club have proven frail at the back in his absence and his replacement in the team, Liam Bridcutt, has failed to live up to the standards set by Cattermole. 

  Tackles per gameHeaders per gameInterceptions per gameTouches per gamePasses per gamePassing AccuracyAppearancesMins Played
Lee Cattermole 2.88 1 2.33 53.05 39.77 82.54% 18 1511
Liam Bridcutt 2 0.76 1.53 35.30 25.61 81.38% 13 636

Cattermole makes more tackles, interceptions and headers than Bridcutt, but he is also far superior in his distribution. 

The currently injured star is always an option to his side and, as a result, he is far more involved in the game than Bridcutt.

With Sunderland struggling badly, it shows that his return cannot come soon enough and Cattermole will be looking to make up for lost time when he makes it off the treatment table. 

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