The 25-year-old winger was this week forced to withdraw from Roy Hodgson's squad for the opening qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine due to a thigh injury.
Cattermole told the Sunderland Echo: "To come back to the north-east, he will get a lot of attention around here. Sometimes that's hard to handle.
"But Johnno's a great lad and he's shown the desire to come because he wants to play.
"He's going to further his career, kick on and be a full England international all the time. I'm sure when the next World Cup comes along, he's going to be in it."
Cattermole knows exactly what he will bring to the club from the years the pair spent together at Middlesbrough.
He said: "Once the club got permission to speak, I gave him a ring and said, 'You will absolutely love it'.
"It's a big thing for him. He played in the team that won the Premier League last year. It was a big ask for him to come away from there.
"Johnno is a phenomenal player and to have him here at the age he's at is brilliant for the club. He's in the prime of his career and he's only going to get better."