PAOLO DI CANIO has total confidence that Emanuele Giaccherini will follow in his footsteps and prove that Italian players can thrive in the Premier League, writes Chris Young in Hong Kong
Sunderland splashed out £6.5million to bring Giaccherini to the Stadium of Light from Juventus, with the 28-year-old earmarked to add creativity out wide.
There have been big money exports from Serie A who have struggled to cope with the physical demands of the English top flight in the past; the likes of Alberto Acquilani at Liverpool and Massimo Maccarone at Middlesbrough.
But Sunderland head coach Di Canio, one of the most successful Italian imports in the Premier League’s history, believes Giaccherini will develop into into one of the most eye-catching players in the top flight next season.
“Some (Italian) players haven’t had complete success in England, but in the past there are some who did have complete success!” said Di Canio.
“I’m sure Giaccherini is going to impress everybody. There is no doubt about his technical quality.
“It’s obvious that English football is one of the most difficult leagues in the world because the dynamics are completely different to anywhere else in the world.
“In Spain or Italy, you spend seven or eight months under the sun. In England, you have more tackles and in the winter you have no break.
“To adapt is not easy because you have to completely change your mentality.
“But I was sure about Giaccherini’s attitude. Before I signed him, I wanted to check to see whether he had the right mentality.
“But this lad is fantastic and he’s going to be one of the best players in this league.”
Di Canio sounded a note of caution though by declaring that supporters shouldn’t expect too much from Giaccherini during pre-season.
The Italian international had just 10 days of holiday during the summer after representing his country in the Confederations Cup and is still playing catch-up with Sunderland’s fitness regime.
“He’s a very humble guy but in the last few years, he has been one of the best players in the world,” added Di Canio.
“We won’t see the best of him in Hong Kong because he only joined us a few days ago.
“He still feels a bit heavy, even if he’s very small. But for the future, he will be a crucial player.”