Can Di Canio do what O’Neill did not and make Adam Johnson a Sunderland star?

GET IN: Adam Johnson scores his goal against Newcastle United at St James's Park. Picture by FRANK REID
GET IN: Adam Johnson scores his goal against Newcastle United at St James's Park. Picture by FRANK REID
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PAOLO Di Canio believes that Adam Johnson is only half the player he can be!

The Italian has pledged to bring the very best out of the ex-Manchester City and England winger in his time at Sunderland.

Di Canio said: “In my opinion, we can improve him by 50 per cent – I think he can be much better than he has has been.

“We will help him to show his quality more than in the past and I am excited about that.”

It would be harsh to call the 25-year-old ca flop.

But generally he has been under-whelming, often peripheral in games in the Martin O’Neill era.

Di Canio is convinced he can change that around and make Johnson into the shining star.

“Adam was good at Newcastle and credit has to go to him because change is always difficult,” Di Canio reflected.

“Probably he wasn’t that happy before, because he didn’t really deliver what people expected here.

“But now he has no more excuses – different habits, different regime – and now of course, something has to come from him.

“I have nothing wrong to say about the previous manager but sometimes – you know footballers – they will say that this didn’t happen, or that didn’t happen.

“I’m not interested so much in that.

“I am interested in getting the best possible out of these players and I believe that for Adam this is just the beginning.”

*SEE Saturday’s Mail newspaper for more from Paoli Di Canio, plus North-East football, boxing, cricket, Younstars and much, much more