Harry Redknapp: Why all the fuss about Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio now?

 

Harry Redknapp, the Queen's Park Rangers manager, said last night that political criticisms of the appointment of Paolo Di Canio as Sunderland head coach were rooted in double standards.

Di Canio, who takes charge of his new club for the first time at Chelsea tomorrow, was manager of Swindon Town for nearly two years without facing the same storm that has engulfed his new club since he replaced Martin O'Neill last weekend, Redknapp said.

"Where was all this talk when he was at Swindon?" asked Redknapp, who managed Di Canio at West Ham United. "I didn't see any talk about him being a fascist then, so why has it suddenly come out now he's gone to Sunderland? If it's upsetting everyone so much, why didn't they write about it when he went to Swindon?"

Redknapp admitted he did not know precisely what a fascist was, but was sure that Di Canio was not a bigot. "I don't know what Paolo's beliefs really are," Redknapp said. "He's not a racist, that's for sure. I've never discussed anything like that with him. I honestly didn't know he had views that were different or that he supported this party or the other."

Redknapp, though, does believe Di Canio will make a good manager. "He's off-the-wall but he's a great trainer, super-fit. I heard the manager of Swindon the other day saying he can't believe how fit the players are. I can believe that with Paolo. He's volatile but he's enthusiastic and you want enthusiastic people around you in life. And he's hoping it will rub off on the players and they will become more enthusiastic. The crowd when they win will; he'll give it plenty and maybe they'll respond to it. It will be interesting."

John Terry, the Chelsea captain, is another who is firmly in the Di Canio fan club. "I can only speak highly of him," Terry said. "I played against him when he was at Charlton. His movement was fantastic and I found he was just a real nice guy on the pitch. I was only young at the time when I was playing against him. He always spoke to me after games and said, 'Listen, maybe you should do this and do that', which was really nice at the time. A two-word sentence was enough and something I learned from."

And on facing Di Canio's side in the Italian's first game in charge at Stamford Bridge tomorrow, Terry added: "It's going to be really tough. He's going to have them up for it. You could see how well organised Swindon were over the short period of time he was there. He's told them, 'Tell your wives and your families it's going to be a lot of long days and hard work.' I think that's what they need."

Di Canio himself "can't wait" to make his Premier League bow in the dugout at Stamford Bridge.

"Chelsea at Stamford Bridge – what can you say?" he said. "I can't wait for it and I expect the same desire and determination from my players to make sure they do a good job. To go to Stamford Bridge and make a big impact – we always have to remember that the main protagonists are the players, but with my help and my staff's help we can go there and get a result.

"As a manager it is my first time at the top, I mean the very top level. We are away from home against Chelsea, where obviously I have good memories and scored when I was a footballer. But I'm not a footballer now, I'm a manager and now I hope my players will score there and give us some points.

"It's fantastic. The players will be motivated on their own; they live to play on the big stage. Obviously we are going to give them extra motivation to try to get a very good result."

Meanwhile, O'Neill has admitted he feels "frustrated", if not shocked, at being given the sack. He said: "Coming into the football club at the time when the club was on its knees, and I believe I saved the club from relegation last year, I felt the opportunity [to stay at the club] should have still been afforded to me.

"I'm in the business now where I think very little shocks you about professional football, especially in the last 10 years. You can lose a job in management if your tie doesn't fit your suit."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape