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By ESPN Staff

Latics snap up Boro midfielder Cattermole

Wigan Athletic have clinched the signing of England Under-21 midfielder Lee Cattermole from Middlesbrough.

Terms for the transfer between the clubs were agreed last week and Cattermole, 20, passed a medical before signing a three-year contract.

It is understood the fee involved is around £3.5million.

Stockton-born Cattermole emerged as a precocious teenager in January 2006 when he made his first senior start in a 2-2 derby draw at Newcastle.

He was used as a substitute in the UEFA Cup final later that season in what was Steve McClaren's last game in charge, but struggled to establish himself in the team under McClaren's successor Gareth Southgate.

Wigan manager Steve Bruce is convinced Cattermole can be a success at the JJB Stadium.

'He's got everything going for him,' Bruce said.

'He's young, he's courageous, he's a tireless worker and I think he can have a great career in football, hopefully for this club.

'He only turned 20 in April, and already he has played nearly 70 games in the Premier League, as well as in the UEFA Cup. That's exceptional.

'He can be a great leader of the future.'

Cattermole made 28 appearances for Middlesbrough last season, but half of those came off the bench.

Southgate signed Didier Digard and Marvin Emnes this summer and those transfers looked to have pushed Cattermole towards the fringes of the Boro squad.

But Bruce believes he has signed a potential future England midfielder.

He said: 'I really think the sky's the limit with Lee. If he dedicates himself to the sport as he clearly has done up until now, and he keeps learning, there's no reason why he can't progress to full international honours.'

Cattermole should have more first-team opportunities at Wigan, and plenty of chance to impress England boss Fabio Capello.

He admitted being 'sad' about leaving his home club, but said: 'I just think the time is right for a new challenge and I see working with Steve Bruce here at Wigan as a fantastic opportunity because this is a team really going places.'


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