Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio wants to slap ‘Playboy model’ Connor Wickham
Paolo Di Canio says he is tempted to slap Sunderland youngster Connor Wickham to ensure he fulfils his potential.
The Black Cats boss is keen to see the 20-year-old live up to the expectations that came when he arrived on Wearside from Ipswich for £8.1 million two years ago.
He 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.'”
Wickham has been named in the England Under-21 squad for this summer’s European Championships, but has yet to show his best at the Stadium of Light.
Di Canio added: “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.”