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The midfielder is confident his form of late can help him break into Fabio Capello's set up, while hailing the Black Cats improvement since Martin O'Neill's arrival at the club

Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole is eyeing a role with England national team in the near future.

The former Middlesbrough midfielder has been capped 16 times at under-21 level. However, despite seeing former team-mates such as Adam Johnson, James Milner and Gabriel Agbonlahor progress to the senior squad, Cattermole is yet to earn a call up.

The 23-year-old believes his current form is impressive and sees no reason why he cannot make an impact in Fabio Capello's set-up.

“Well, I think I am playing well, and if you get the nod, you get the nod, don’t you?” Cattermole told reporters.

“I believe in myself and I have done well for the under-21s in the past.

“Other people have progressed into the full squad in the past, so it is something I am aiming to do.”

Since the arrival of Martin O’Neill on Wearside, Sunderland have seen a vast improvement in their form, taking 16 points from a possible 24 in the Premier League.

Although admitting he was sad to see former boss Steve Bruce leave the club, Cattermole is delighted with the team’s change of fortunes under the Northern Irishman, but has urged the Black Cats to keep their feet on the ground.

He continued: “It’s the first time I have had a manager sacked, and I was devastated for Steve and absolutely gutted for him.

“But a new voice has come in and straight away, you just want to impress and that’s what you do.

“But just winning games as well, people automatically start to say you are playing better.

“We are just winning games. It is not necessarily everyone is playing better, it’s winning games.

“The confidence is there and it’s great. We have been flying. We have had a great start, it couldn’t have gone any better under the new manager.

“We are playing well, we just need to keep our feet on the ground and keep working hard and not get too carried away.”

Another solid performance under O’Neill saw Sunderland beat Peterborough 2-0 in the FA Cup earlier this month, setting up a mouth-watering local derby with Middlesbrough in the fourth round this weekend.

Having been at Boro for 10 years, Cattermole is well aware of the threat the Teessiders will pose, but says a positive cup run would be good for the club.

“We need to have a good cup run,” he added.

“It’s my third season here now and we haven’t got past the first couple of rounds, so it would be nice for everyone.

“It’s going to be tough for us. Boro have been doing well – I know they have had a couple of bad results in the last few weeks, but they are a good side, so we are going to have to approach it right.”

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