Lee Cattermole

Cattermole's backing for winger

by Stuart Vose

Skipper backs McClean to shine.

Lee Cattermole says James McClean can conquer that tricky second season and continue to establish himself as one of the Barclays Premier League’s leading wide men.

The 23-year-old was a revelation after breaking into Sunderland’s first team in December last year, stunning the top flight with a string of superb displays.

Signed as a raw prospect from Derry City last summer, McClean flourished under the direction of Martin O’Neill and ended his first campaign with a useful tally of six goals in 29 games.

James has got pace to burn and is as fit as a fiddle

- Lee Cattermole

Now the winger is tasked with kicking on in his second season – something skipper Cattermole feels he’s more than capable of doing.

“The second season is a big one but James isn’t all that young,” the midfielder said. “He’s only a year younger than me.

“He will have no problems. It’s not like he’s come in at 17 or 18 – he is ready for it.

“James had a great season last year and he will be fine.”

McClean capped a stunning debut campaign by making full international bow for the Republic of Ireland as well as appearing at Euro 2012.

He often found himself double marked by opponents in games late on in the season and singled out for special treatment by opponents.

McClean responded by adapting his game and Cattermole feels he will continue to cause defences considerable headaches.

“That’s what happens when you are a good player – people are going to do that to you,” he added.

“James will work on his game. He’ll have no problems – he’s got pace to burn and is as fit as a fiddle.

“He is everything you don’t want to see if you’re a Premier League right-back.”