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Meyler defends skipper Cattermole

Sunderland midfielder David Meyler has voiced his support for club captain Lee Cattermole following his recent red card against MK Dons in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday.

Meyler, 23, described his captain as "gutted" following the dismissal, which drew criticism from manager Martin O'Neill.

But, although it was the fifth such incident of Cattermole's Sunderland career, the Republic of Ireland international believes his skipper does not need to change his game.

"Everyone who knows Lee Cattermole knows that he plays with his heart on his sleeve," Meyler told the Sunderland Echo. "It was just a ball that he went for and thought he could win. The referee decided it was a red card and I'm sure the club will look back on it and see what they think.

"But Lee is gutted himself because he always wants to do everything he can to help the team. It's done now and there's nothing that anyone can do. It's not something we'll spend too long thinking about as players."

Meanwhile, the former Cork City player also confirmed his willingness to be Sunderland's utility man, with the midfielder keen to play in any position that sees him named in the starting eleven - he had to slot in at centre-half on Tuesday.

"It's a long time since I've played at centre-half, if at all. Maybe I did a bit when I was younger, although I can't really remember," he said. "There were maybe occasions where someone was sent off and I slotted in, but never in an important cup match like on Tuesday night. I've never played there in a game like that before.

"A couple of days before the game, one of the coaches asked if I'd ever played there before because a few of the lads were either injured or being rested for the weekend. I just said that I'd play anywhere if it meant an opportunity to play for Sunderland. I was then told I would be in the team and that was fantastic, and we're all delighted that we got the win.

"The manager knows I'll play anywhere just to play. If he wants me to play centre-half, right-back, central midfield or whatever, that's fine. I'll play wherever for him."

Tuesday's game also saw the much anticipated return of Adam Johnson to the first team after a spell out with injury.

And O'Neill was delighted at having his £10 million signing from Manchester City back on the pitch.

"I brought Adam on to give him a few minutes on the pitch." O'Neill told the club's official website. "The second goal helped make my mind up about that. I wanted to bring him on and make him feel involved again. We'll see how he is after that cameo and try and get him fit and ready for Saturday."

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