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Premier League

Justify your price tag or else, Paolo Di Canio warns £10m Sunderland 'Playboy' Connor Wickham

Striker told to stop wearing 'small t-shirts'

Paolo Di Canio has warned Sunderland's £10m forward Connor Wickham that he risks unconventional motivation methods if he does not begin to justify the price tag paid to Ipswich almost two years ago.

Wickham has scored only one Premier League goal since his move to the Stadium of Light from Ipswich and Di Canio said: "Maybe, with this guy, I have to slap his face a little bit. I'm talking about motivating him in a genuine way because he has so much potential. But sometimes he comes in (to training) and he seems to be looking around saying, 'Where am I?'. I want to say, 'You are on the football pitch, with the grass'.

"He is an intelligent guy, but once he seemed to be complaining because it was wet. I told him that is typical for this area. Maybe if he doesn't go out in a small T-shirt when it is wet and cold, he won't be complaining. I have told him, 'No small T-shirts'. I don't want him to be missing a couple of games because he is a Playboy model. We are footballers, that is our job."

Wickham will however lead the England Under-21 attack in the European Championships in the summer.