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Oct 30, 2012

Cattermole aiming for Europe

After putting pen-to-paper on a new Sunderland contract Lee Cattermole is targeting European football.

•  Cattermole signs new deal
•  Blog: Why so miserable?

The former Wigan midfielder, 24, has signed a three year extension to his current deal with the club, and he has pointed to North East neighbours Newcastle's example last season as the one to aspire to.

"The gaffer made it clear that he wanted to keep me and now we've managed to get it done," Cattermole said. "It's definitely the best place for me, and I would have been gutted if I had left at the end of this year because I think I have more to offer.

"Could we make the top eight and qualify for Europe over the course of the deal? That's everybody's aim. Everybody outside the top four will think they have a chance of achieving that and we're no different. If you have a good season, anything is possible.

"You just have to look at Newcastle last season to see that. We've got a great manager and great players - everything is really positive."

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill also has high hopes for Cattermole, challenging him to catch Roy Hodgson's eye and prove his international potential.

Cattermole has previous experience of representing England at Under-21 level but has never made the step up to the full side. O'Neill believes he has all the attributes, and wants to see him make the step up.

"Why shouldn't Lee be thinking about England? He has definite ability and is still remarkably young," O'Neill said. "He has played a lot of games, but there is room for great improvement in his game.

"Having said that though, we shouldn't lose sight of what he is already very good at. Players in the modern day seem so much quieter, but Lee is a natural leader and having a vocal leader on the pitch definitely helps. Being able to cajole other players is a great quality to have.

"He is very important to us because he keeps us going. That is a natural element of his game, although hand-in-hand with that, his discipline aspect has to improve."

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