Page 3 Profile: Paolo Di Canio, new Sunderland manager


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The Independent Online

The cheeky Italian looks to be taking a big step up.

Having left Swindon Town in February, Di Canio has taken the Sunderland job after manager Martin O'Neill was sacked on Saturday. The former West Ham maverick has a colourful history in the game, which will undoubtedly have him gracing the media with his extravagance on a regular occasion in the Premier League. That is, of course, if he can keep the struggling Wearsiders up.

Fun-filled and colourful? Tell me more…

Roman salutes, arguing over who should take a penalty and accusations of a midnight raid at his old office, to name just a few examples, Di Canio is always the centre of attention. But his most infamous incident came in 1998, when he pushed over referee Paul Alcock after being sent off, picking up an 11-match ban and a £10,000 fine in the process. But the 44-year-old does have a soft side. Given the chance to score into an empty net for West Ham against Everton in 2001, Di Canio caught the ball because of an injury to goalkeeper Paul Gerrard.

Can he succeed at the top level?

He has little managerial experience, but his commanding persona could be what Sunderland's players need for a relegation dogfight. The passion, which we saw in his playing days, is welcomed and required. His tendency to get into the headlines for the wrong reason, is not.