Jack Ross has heaped praise on midfielder Lee Cattermole after he starred on his return to the Sunderland side.
Cattermole was handed a recall for the Black Cats' Carabao Cup clash with Sheffield Wednesday and impressed in the centre of the park, despite the Owls running out as 2-0 victors.
As one of the higher-earners at the club, the midfielder was tipped to depart this summer and was omitted from the squad for Sunderland's opening league game.
But having featured off the bench against Luton last weekend, Cattermole looks to have forced his way back into the first team picture.
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And manager Ross was full of praise for the 30-year-old, regarding both his on-field performance and off-field conduct.
The Sunderland boss was also pleased to see fans show their appreciation for a fine performance from a man who Ross believes genuinely cares about the club.
“I have been consistent in my answer to that because it is the truth,” Ross said.
“From day one in pre-season, I have taken him as I found him, like every player in the squad.
“His attitude and his approach to training and his response to what my staff and I have asked him to do has been terrific, I have enjoyed working with him.
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“The other things that go with it is nothing to do with me and not Lee’s fault, either.
“I was pleased for him to get back on the pitch at this stadium. He is not daft, it is mentally challenging for him as well.
“His contribution was good in the middle, considering he hasn’t had a lot of game time, missing a couple of games with illness and injury.
“He is playing catch-up but got good game-time in, his contribution was good and I am pleased he got that reaction as well.
“The one thing about him is he genuinely wants this club to do well. I was pleased with what he did.”
Cattermole has been linked with a move to Bordeaux, with Sunderland thought to be willing to listen to offers for the midfielder.
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But any such move now looks to be dead in the water after former Black Cats boss Gus Poyet - who was believed to be driving the move - left the club.