@GRokerReport - Yes!
He isn't always in my good books but I can never level at Lee Cattermole that he doesn't care, because he clearly does - and that, for me, makes him the absolute best choice as Sunderland captain going forward.
It's kind of sad that we even have to consider if a player cares about the club they play for these days, but it's true - most footballers, particularly in the Premier League, see the likes of Sunderland as a stepping stone to something better, and I guess that as a result we seem to have lost a generation of footballers that wear their hearts on their sleeve week in, week out. In 2016, Lee Cattermole is one of a select few that has the characteristics befitting of a proper captain, particularly one that Sam Allardyce loves.
Lets be honest, John O'Shea's time as a first teamer at Sunderland is likely done. Though still a decent enough player, he turns thirty-five this week and regardless of which league we find ourselves in next season, our primary aim should be to bring in younger players that we can develop.
His time as Sunderland captain has been.... lacklustre, really. Pretty much every season that O'Shea has been captain, we've struggled - though I don't primarily pin the blame on him, for me he represents a pretty negative era at Sunderland and a changing of the guard back to Lee Cattermole is exactly the direction we need to take going into next season.
I feel the huge increase in defensive work rate and organisation that we've seen in recent weeks is due to Cattermole temporarily taking over the armband with John O'Shea out of the team, and it's clearly a role he thrives in. He's stepped up just about every area of his game - particularly in the last two matches - and I just wonder whether or not having Cattermole as captain going forward is at the forefront of Sam Allardyce's mind. His captains at other clubs over the years have been combative central midfielders - Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble to name just two examples - and those were sides that had relative success under Big Sam. It does make you wonder.
My opinion hasn't changed on Cattermole - he's a leader, and although some might say he doesn't need the armband to be a captain on the pitch, I think that if we are to refresh the entire setup at the club, he's exactly the man you want working alongside the manager in the dressing room. He's here to stay - he's currently our longest serving first-teamer - and he gets what the fans expect of a player when they represent Sunderland on the football pitch.
For me regardless of which league we find ourselves in, we need to make it official come the end of the season - not only to move on from what I perceive as a negative period for the club, but because it's just the right thing to do.
@RoryFallow - No!
Let me make clear first of all - I love Lee Barry Cattermole. However, I'm not so sure that he should have the captain's armband on a permanent basis. We saw how he struggled to deal with the pressures that came with being officially made captain when Steve Bruce was still in charge and whilst he's obviously progressed and gained more experience, I think potentially burdening him with more responsibility could be a bad thing for Catts. It's often said how he's a big influence in the dressing room, so the respect for him is still going to be there whether he's captain or not.
Let's just leave him be. Sure, give him the nod when other players are injured or out of form but also give him some room to breathe. Give him some room to still be a bit of a bastard. A bit 'un-captainy'. That's what makes him so great.
So as not to make this sound too negative or down on the Teesside Makelele, I'm going to offer some alternatives. If we stay up and therefore retain the majority of our squad, I'd be looking to two players in particular to take over from John O'Shea, as he'll probably see his game time severely limited. Younes Kaboul previously captained Spurs and has been a great influence over the team since Allardyce came in. He organises us, is commanding and has the quality and experience to match it. Just look at how well he's clicked with Lamine Kone, who couldn't ask for much more in a centre half partner as he adjusts to a new league.
If not Kaboul, Jan Kirchhoff seems to have a captain's air about him. Perhaps not as well versed in the Premier League as Kaboul (or Cattermole for that matter) but Kirchhoff has took to the league seamlessly. Like Kaboul, he's an organiser and works hard to spread his influence all over the pitch. The former Bayern Munich man brilliantly breaks up the oppositions play and can start an attack for us with one quality ball. It may be a bit more left-field but I certainly wouldn't be upset to see Kirchhoff leading us out of the tunnel next season.
So let's allow Cattermole to just continue doing what he does best. Hard tackles, constant energy, those lovely long Hollywood balls, goal line clearances, I could go on! Leave the niceties that come with being captain to some other sap because Cattermole isn't nice, he's that bit of rough you're too scared to bring home to meet your parents because they won't understand him like you do. Make that nice boy next door Jan or that nice young lad Younes, the face of things because they're used to that kind of thing.
We understand you, Lee and we don't need to make you captain to let you know that.
Who do you side with? Vote in the poll below. You can leave your comments at the bottom of the article also, or tweet us at @RokerReport - we'd love to hear what you think.