Cattermole defends disciplinary record
Cattermole, who has 43 bookings and four red cards to his name, lost his England Under-21 spot after being sent off against Birmingham this season. However the 22-year-old, who will lead the Black Cats out against former club Wigan on Saturday, insists his ultra-competitive style of play is simply misunderstood. "I have been given a reputation of some sort of hard man, but it's not the way I am as a person or as a player of the game," said Cattermole. "I play football the way every player should play the game. I give 100 per cent in every game, if there's a tackle to be won I will go in hard and fair. I don't go in to hurt people and never would. "The criticism of my record doesn't really bother me. I just try to do the right things on the pitch. People don't know me as a person, "Some games I don't make any tackles and in others I might make four or five in half a match. Back in the day nobody would have batted an eyelid about the way I play the game. Now because the physical side of the game doesn't go on as much you get a reputation." Cattermole, who has had a briefing session with top English referee Howard Webb to work on cleaning up his act, has accused some rivals of 'milking' their knocks to get him booked. "Football is definitely not the game it was," he added. "It's a bit tricky to work out what you can and can't do. "You have to be so careful. Sometimes if a player stays down, the referee has to use the book because they say you have hurt the player. It all depends who you have kicked doesn't it? "Some players get straight back up and they don't milk it. You just have to be careful. "You have to be so careful to stay on the pitch because it doesn't take much to get sent off these days. You are treading on egg shells if you are on a yellow card." Cattermole is baffled by the Black Cats' disciplinary troubles, but says the side has vowed to show extra caution this term. "I'm not sure why we have so many cards," he added. "As players we have sat down and said we don't want to give the referees any opportunity or reason to book us for dissent. "We were a bit cheesed off at times last year because we were struggling. We tried desperately hard to get a win. "It wasn't really happening for us on the pitch, but if you look at our cards I cant remember one that was for a really bad foul. Nobody topped anyone. We are not a dirty side at all."