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With Our Talisman Out Long Term, Who Replaces Lee Cattermole?

Despite Sunderland achieving two straight victories, the injury to Lee Cattermole is still a critical blow to the team. Who can capitalise and take over his role in our side?

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Sunderland v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images


Jason Denayer

Passing success rate: 78% - Tackles per game: 2.4 - Interceptions per game: 0.8

Sunderland v Hull City - Premier League Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Denayer would have perhaps been the most unlikely candidate a few weeks ago, considering he's a defender, but his last two performances in the middle have given us a reason to be optimistic.

He buzzed around Hull's midfield and distributed the ball calmly under pressure, and though he tends not to commit to his tackles early he was efficient in winning back the ball.

It's early days but his size, surprising burst of pace and composure could just be what we need in front of our defence in the absence of Cattermole.


Sebastian Larsson

Passing success rate: n/a - Tackles per game: n/a - Interceptions per game: n/a

Sunderland v Aston Villa - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Yet to start in any first team games so far this season due to his recovery from surgery this summer, the long-serving Swede is gradually making his way back to fitness and has played a number of games for our reserve side, impressing and scoring on Monday evening in their match away at Manchester United.

Larsson - who, lets not forget, was our player of the year in 2015 - has became something of a forgotten man. After two disrupted seasons, questions remain over whether he's still got it in him to play regularly at the top level.

Fitness permitting there is absolutely no question that he'll run himself into the ground for the club - and he's not that bad a water carrier either.


Lynden Gooch

Passing success rate: 74.7% - Tackles per game: 1.3 - Interceptions per game: 1.1

Sunderland v Middlesbrough - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

I feel quite sorry for Lynden Gooch. Though he started the season in the team, he was one of the few that came through those opening weeks relatively unscathed, and having since been taken away and from the firing line, he's been largely restricted to minor substitute appearances since.

Though he's a wide-player by trade, I've been fairly impressed by the American when he has played in the centre of midfield - he carries the ball incredibly well and is relatively industrious.

Lynden is a hard worker and would certainly not let anybody down if he was given a more permanent role in the middle of the park.


Jan Kirchhoff

Passing success rate: 71.4% - Tackles per game: 2.3 - Interceptions per game: 1.8

Newcastle United v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

There is absolutely no doubting the talent of Jan Kirchhoff - rather irritatingly, his issues stem from his injury issues and getting him fit and playing regularly could be the difference between Sunderland staying up and going down at the end of this season.

Widely lauded by fans and pundits alike last year, Kirchhoff became our most important midfielder after enduring a nightmare start to life as a Sunderland player.

There's no one better to play in the middle for us providing he stays fit - perhaps not even Cattermole himself.

Kirchhoff also completed a full ninety minutes for the U23s on Monday evening, scoring too, and it will be interesting to see if David Moyes will push him straight back into the team when we face Liverpool at the weekend.

With his contract running out this summer its an interesting time for Jan Kirchhoff - now that he's fit enough to play again he has an opportunity to win himself a longer deal at the club, providing he wants it of course. With Cattermole out of the side he has a chance to grasp the opportunity with both hands, and whether he takes it is completely up in the air.