PAOLO DI CANIO says Jack Colback needs to come to a decision on his future, despite his admiration for the Sunderland academy product.
Colback’s destiny at the Stadium of Light remains uncertain after the 23-year-old turned down Sunderland’s offer of a new contract, with only 12 months remaining on his current deal.
Sunderland have no intention of letting Colback leave the club, despite interest from a number of their Premier League peers, including Hull and Cardiff City.
Di Canio has revealed he has had two conversations with Colback over his place in his plans and has been encouraged by the Tynesider’s attitude on the training field during pre-season.
But Di Canio insists that Colback will eventually have to make up his mind on where his future lies, to banish any uncertainty over his place at the club.
Di Canio said: “I’ve already spoken to him twice and he’s done very well.
“He’s a genuine guy with a fantastic attitude.
“Also, he’s got quality too.
“He has to make clear what he wants to do in the future because if one player has it in his brain to leave, it is difficult.
“But he’s got to keep going and keep behaving like he is.
“He doesn’t look like he’s having any difficulties. He’s one of the most positive young players we’ve got.
“I’m very happy with him.”
Colback has been deployed at left-back during pre-season - a position which the midfielder has covered regularly over the last two seasons.
But Di Canio remains in the hunt for a specialist left-back after a summer of frustration in the transfer market for that position, with moves for Benjamin Mendy and Lucas Orban both falling through.
Valencia’s Aly Cissokho continues to be linked with Sunderland, particularly as Liverpool’s interest seems to have cooled, but Di Canio wants Colback to continue to provide competition for that role next season.
And the Sunderland head coach says that playing at full-back will involve a far more attacking remit under the blueprint for his new-look side.
“Now we’re playing in a different way, he’s started to understand that as a left-back he becomes like a winger,” added Di Canio.
“With the system we’re going to use this year, both full-backs often during the game will become wingers.
“He’s going to enjoy it.”