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The former Aston Villa boss has been impressed by the tough-tackling midfielder and is desperate for the 24-year-old to commit his long-term future to the Black Cats

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill is keen for Lee Cattermole to sign a new contract and commit his long-term future to the club, with his existing deal due to expire next summer.

The Northern Irishman has been impressed by the midfielder's displays since he become the Black Cats manager, although he notes that the 24-year-old could do with improving his discipline.

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"Cattermole has been excellent since I came to the football club - and he may well have been before, I don't know about that," O'Neill told the Sunderland Echo.

"He's 24 and he's the captain of the side. Sometimes he needs to keep his discipline better because over the course of the year I expect he'll pick up a couple of silly bookings.

"I don't want to build him up too much though - particularly as he has a contract to sign here!"

Cattermole has made 69 league appearances since moving to the Stadium of Light from Wigan in 2009 and established himself as one of the club's key players.

Sunderland host Liverpool on September 15 with both sides looking for their first league victory of the season.

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