Premier League

Di Canio claims Wickham needs a slap

Paolo Di Canio and Connor Wickham
Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio (R) speaks to Connor Wickham at Chelsea.
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Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio has taken a strong line with Connor Wickham, claiming he needs to "slap his face" to get him firing.

Wickham was named in Stuart Pearce's England U21 squad for the upcoming European Championships in Israel.

And with Marvin Sordell the only other recognised striker named, the former Ipswich youngster could have a key role to play for his country.

However, Di Canio revealed motivating the 20-year old is sometimes very difficult, despite his obvious talent.

"Maybe, with this guy, I have to slap his face a little bit," he said.

"I'm talking about motivating him in a genuine way because he has so much potential.

"But sometimes he comes in and he seems to be looking around saying, 'Where am I?' I want to say, 'You are on the football pitch, with the grass'."

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