Are Sunderland now about to see the best of Lee Cattermole?

Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole has returned to training.

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce says Lee Cattermole has returned to training feeling better than he has all season following treatment on a back injury, the Sunderland Echo report.

The Black Cats skipper has long been seen as a key player at the Stadium of Light, yet his performances this season haven’t quite reached the standards of years gone by.

It came to light that Cattermole was carrying a back complaint, one he had been nursing for weeks before finally seeing a specialist over the international break.

The treatment seems to have done the trick, with Allardyce telling reporters that Cattermole has assured him of his well-being and his ability to train better than he has all season.

“There was a slight problem he had with his back that we've now cured or seem to have cured. He trained today and said he feels great, better than he has all season,” Allardyce said.

"I think there was a bit of an impingement in the back that had been there a considerable amount of time and maybe that took a little bit of the edge off Lee. I hope that won't be the case now."

  SeasonTackles per GameInterceptions per GameEffective Clearances per GameDef Duels Won per GameBall Recoveries per GameTouches per GameAccurate Passes per GameKey Passes per GamePlayed
Lee Cattermole 2014-2015 2.07 2.43 2.36 4.75 6.32 52.61 31.79 0.43 28
Lee Cattermole 2015-2016 1.3 2.2 0.3 2.5 3.7 38.4 25 0.2 10

As per the table provided by Opta Stats, the difference in Cattermole’s performance levels from last season to the current campaign is quite noteworthy.

The 27-year-old performed considerably better  in 2014/15, averaging more tackles, interceptions, clearances, defensive duels won, ball recoveries, touches, accurate passes and key passes per match.

If the Black Cats are to avoid the drop this season, they will need their key players to be at the very top of their game, and thus far that simply hasn’t been the case for Cattermole.

With his back problem now resolved, Sunderland fans can expect to see a huge improvement in his game.

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