Lee Cattermole

Johnson move delights skipper

by Stuart Vose

Cattermole welcomes childhood friend.

Lee Cattermole is relishing the chance to play alongside Adam Johnson once more and says the winger is excited by his move.

The pair have been friends since the age of 12, when both were starting out in the youth ranks at Middlesbrough.

Cattermole and Johnson were part of an outstanding Academy crop on Teesside and both progressed to represent the first team with distinction.

Johnno is a great talent, always has been

- Lee Cattermole

Both eventually left the Riverside Stadium, with Cattermole arriving at the Stadium of Light from Wigan in summer 2009.

Johnson, meanwhile, headed to Manchester City, with whom he would win both the FA Cup and Barclays Premier League.

Cattermole has now been joined by his old sidekick, who joined late last week after Martin O'Neill pulled off an audacious move to acquired the flying winger from Manchester City.

And the captain is backing Johnson to be a huge hit on Wearside after the England man returned to his native north east.

“It's funny – everyone seems to go their own way in football and move round clubs, so it's great to be playing alongside him again,” the midfielder said.

“Johnno is a great talent, always has been. He has that ability to go past players and our fans will really like him.

“I'm sure he'll do great with us and I think he'll find a lot more space and grass in front of him than he was used to at Man City.

“Adam will love the challenge of playing here and is from the area too. I spoke to him [about the move] and told him he will love it at Sunderland.

“He's a great lad too and will fit in no problem. I'm sure we'll see that in his performances.”

Meanwhile Cattermole feels manager O'Neill has made another shrewd addition by signing target man Steven Fletcher from Wolves.

The hitman moved north for an undisclosed fee last Friday as a precursor to the Johnson deal, which went through later in the day.

“Steven scored goals for a struggling team last year and hopefully we can create even more chances for him,” Cattermole said.

“I'm sure Steven will start banging in the goals here and it's nice to see him join.

“He probably wanted to get it done a bit quicker but it got there in the end.”

He added: “It's important to remember the other signings too – both Carlos [Cuellar] and Louis Saha have fitted in well and they are quality additions.”