Lee Cattermole: Sunderland midfielder leaves after 10 years at club
Lee Cattermole says it is "the right time to find a new challenge" after it was confirmed he is leaving Sunderland after 10 years at the club.
The 31-year-old midfielder made 261 appearances for the Black Cats after joining from Wigan for £6m in 2009.
He played in Sunderland's 2014 League Cup final loss to Manchester City and was in the team that sustained successive relegations to League One.
"Sunderland is a special club and this decision has not been easy," he said.
"I believe it is the right time to find a new challenge. The football club, over my 10 years, has had some fantastic managers, staff and players and I have been lucky to be part of that.
"I would like to say a big thank you to Jack Ross and his staff, and I wish him and the current squad all the best for the coming season. There are some exciting young players at the club and I will be looking forward to seeing them progress.
"And finally, and most importantly, the fans. You are what makes the club special and your passion and commitment is something that has always inspired me throughout my career at Sunderland and will continue to inspire the team."
Sunderland were beaten in the League One play-off final by Charlton in May and will play in the third tier for the second consecutive season in 2019-20.