Paulo Di Canio, fresh from his departure at Swindon Town, has stated that the time is right for him to govern a Premier League club. The maverick Italian has been linked to the vacant position at Reading — despite Reading players coming out against his proposed move — after the sudden axing of Brian McDermott.
The former West Ham, Celtic and Juventus star has made a valid introduction to his short managerial career with his time at The Robins, leaving them in the League One play-off positions and guiding the Wiltshire club to the League 2 crown in May.
Nonetheless, would he be right for The Royals? Considering the slide that the Berkshire club are in and the fact Di Canio would not cost the club any compensation, a vague response would indicate he could be worth a gamble.
The 44 year-old bears absolutely no resemblance to the recently departed McDermott in terms of style, man-management and above all, experience. This could prove a stumbling block for the Reading hierarchy but in all honesty they might not have freedom of choice with the sands of time very much against them.
However, perhaps that’s what a club like Reading need. McDermott is a very ‘proper’ and ‘old school’ style of manager who likes to quietly go about his business and develop his squad over time. Unfortunately the Premier League’s joint bottom side have not benefited from the 51 year-olds methods this term.
Di Canio would certainly introduce an individualist approach, comparable possibly to Jose Mourinho. A man who is very much not afraid to speak his mind and entertain fellow fans and the media alike with any such way he seems fit.
Of course, Di Canio does have his faults. He was famously banned for shoving over referee Paul Alcock whilst at Sheffield Wednesday which lead to an 11 match ban in 1998. It was an astonishing scene and Di Canio had introduced himself into English football in a rather unorthodox fashion.
This season demonstrates a prime example of his temper. Di Canio was ordered to the stands against Macclesfield after vociferously showing his anger against a free kick that was not awarded. Di Canio’s most notable disrepute came in his playing career in Italy.
A known Fascista, Di Canio has been banned and fined for delivering the Roman Salute to Lazio fans in his time playing for the Rome-based club on a couple of occasions. Politics is always something that Di Canio has felt quite emotionally involved in.
With that said Di Canio does demonstrate a law-abiding nature. Whilst at West Ham he famously stopped himself from scoring as Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard was injured in front of his own goal – instead opting to catch the ball so Gerrard could be treated.
It is fair to say that Di Canio has had a very fruitful and colourful career on the pitch and in the dugout. He does bring about him an air of passion and he oozes confidence and has the upmost poise in his own ability.
Di Canio insists he is ready but the step up may have come too soon. It would be a shame to see him rush to be awarded the Reading hot seat just for the sake of it but with that particular job would be a lightened sense of pressure.
Despite Reading’s precarious position, relegation under Di Canio’s tenure would allow for him to construct a side worthy of promotion next season. If he did manage to keep Reading up, it’s a sure thing that everyone at the club would be treated to pizza by the legend himself.