Victory for Irish duo
Sunderland defensive duo Conor McLaughlin and Tom Flanagan both played 90 minutes for Northern Ireland last night as Michael O’Neill’s side held on for a 3-2 win in a friendly international against the Czech Republic.
Northern Ireland were 3-0 up by half-time in Prague thanks to goals from former Sunderland pair Paddy McNair (2) and Jonny Evans but the away side had to hold on at the end after the hosts scored two in a minute.
Vladimir Darida and Alex Kral pulled the goals back for the Czechs but Flanagan and McLaughlin held firm to secure the victory against a side that included another former Black Cat in Ondrej Celustka.
Catts surprised at reception
Lee Cattermole is enjoying his time in the Netherlands after signing for VVV-Venlo on a free transfer in the summer.
The ex-Sunderland captain may have settled in well but the attention he has received since making the move has caught him by surprise.
The success of Sunderland ‘Til I Die and Cattermole’s role in the series, as well as the midfielder making an atypical move to the Eredivise near the end of an experienced career in English football has made him something of a star in his new league.
During an interview with Fox Sports, Cattermole explained that he won’t watch the programme despite it showing the ‘wonderful’ club he played for in a good light, despite the disappointing season:
Obviously it was different because you don’t usually have that in the season, so it was different.
That’s something that we had to deal with at the time and I think it showed good viewing of the club and it’s a wonderful club that I played for but it was just a disappointing season in the end.
I haven’t watched it, no. I lived through it in the moment and I just felt I wasn’t going to gain too many positives from it.
With one eye towards an eventual coaching career, Cattermole said that experiencing a different style of football culture was too good an opportunity for him to turn down:
I just felt that at this stage of my career, I could stay in England and have the same culture and the same sort of [training] sessions.
I just felt that it was an opportunity for me to try something new. I came over and trained for a few days and it just felt right.
Despite heading to the Netherlands to continue his football education, his move has made headlines due to English players usually heading there at the start of the career, something his former Sunderland team-mate Bolo Zenden pointing out when VVV took on PSV Eindhoven recently:
That’s been quite nice actually, the feedback I’ve got and the interviews I have been doing. The interest has been there from people, which is quite nice.
I didn’t realise it was going to be that big a news.
I’ve seen other players since I have been here and I seen Bolo Zenden after the PSV game and he said ‘You’ve done it the other way around, it’s usually when you’re younger!’.
Like I say, it was an opportunity to come and keep learning.
Cattermole was booked very early into his VVV debut but has not been cautioned since, with the midfielder explaining that he got a reputation early on in his career that led to more cards than he may have picked up otherwise:
In England I probably had a reputation, which started when I was younger but over the last seven or eight years I don’t think there has been many. Sometimes you have a reputation and the cards follow a bit quicker.
I’ve had one yellow card here and hopefully I don’t have many more.
Bain heads to India
Former Sunderland CEO Martin Bain has been appointed to the same position at Football Sports Development Ltd (FSDL), the company in charge of running the Indian Super League.
Bain has been out of football since leaving Sunderland in the aftermath of Stewart Donald’s takeover of the club,
Speaking about his new role, Bain says he is excited to help the country develop on the pitch:
Indian football has progressed rapidly over the last few years. The world has taken notice of India and the potential it holds. I am very eager at the prospect of what the Indian football can achieve under the guidance of Mrs. Nita Ambani and I am immensely happy to be presented with this opportunity to work on her vision for the sport in the country.
While Ambani, the FSDL chairperson, welcomed Bain and was pleased to bring such a “successful administrator” to the company:
I welcome Martin to India and at FSDL. Martin brings with him vast experience of being a successful administrator and I am sure his know-how of the global sport will immensely help the Indian football.