Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Di Canio Has All the 'Passion' to Succeed; Passionate Paolo Is a Fine Example

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Di Canio Has All the 'Passion' to Succeed; Passionate Paolo Is a Fine Example

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas Chief Sports Writer

PAOLO Di Canio will run the gauntlet as he dons his boots to play in Steve Harper's testimonial game at St James' Park tomorrow night - but he has found a heavyweight ally in the shape of AC Milan former team-mate Franco Baresi.

With more than 40,000 fans set to throng Newcastle United's stadium for the star-studded charity game, Sunderland boss Di Canio is assured of a hot reception as he pulls on an AC Milan shirt for the game.

But the Black Cats manager is said to be unfazed by the prospect, just as he has brushed off criticism of his management style - which has attracted some opprobrium following his outspoken Press conference railing against his underperforming players.

Yesterday morning saw reports that Di Canio had criticised his senior players again for falling to a defeat in a behindclosed-doors game against the club's under-21 team, but Baresi is certain that his former team-mate has the mental fortitude to make a success of his management career.

The Sunderland boss (pictured right) has the "character" and "passion" to become a success in the Premier League, something that Baresi feels was always his aim after he hung up his boots. "When I was playing, I never thought that he could become a manager. But now it is easier to see why it has worked," Baresi said ahead of his own appearance at Harper's testimonial.

"He has shown that he has a strong character, with passion. His objective was never to coach in Italy - it was always to come back to England. I think that Paolo now has a good chance to be a really big success, and I don't think he will want to miss it. He will do his best to show that he can do it.

"When I played with Paolo Di Canio at AC Milan, I felt he was really talented and a very good player. …

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