Is Paolo Di Canio the perfect manager for Adam Johnson?

The Sunderland winger is starting to look something like his best again under the Italian. Can he succeed where Roberto Mancini failed?

Online the other day I saw a wonderful picture of graffiti on the wall of a public toilet. I do not condone graffiti at all of course not; unless it is the sort of legal graffiti you see throughout Berlin that makes you beg the question of where the line is between vandalism and art; and if there even is one.

But if you are going to do graffiti at least do it right, right?

It read…

‘Things I hate

1. Vandalism

2. Irony

3. Lists’

Me and my friends have constantly argued over the perfect meaning of the word irony in the past. Whether it is the popular example of the ‘No Smoking’ sign next to the tiled mosaic of Sherlock Holmes pipe-and-all at Baker Street underground or my own personally favourite of seeing a boat as you walk down a stream named Deja-Vu; and believing you have seen it before.

In sport irony is everywhere and one such developing tale of ironic significance could be emerging at the Stadium of Light involving England international winger Adam Johnson.

The tricky left-footer is a player blessed with insurmountable amounts of talent. However in recent times things have run lean for the 25-year-old.

Much of that is down to Roberto Mancini. Bought by Manchester City in 2010 Johnson never truly made a mark on the Italian who, on more than one occasion, publically criticised the players performances.

So when he signed for Sunderland last summer it was no surprise but only now does he look like finally kicking on.

So could one Italian save the career of a player another Italian almost ruined?

In his two games under Paolo Di Canio Johnson has looked an entirely different player.

Now while the pairs paths never truly crossed on the football field one thing is for sure; Di Canio is much more the type of manager Johnson needs to succeed then his compatriot Mancini.

He is one of those players that need to be loved. While Di Canio may be unorthodox he quickly likes to install a father-like relationship with his players. This passion was evident in the game with Newcastle United on Sunday as was the effect it was having on Johnson’s much improved game.

This can only be good for both Sunderland and England as when he is at his best Johnson is a truly renegade winger capable of incredible things with the ball at feet. With Di Canio’s undying belief in his abilities there is no telling how close he can come to his very best.

Under Mancini he would have remained as intermittent as fleeting moments of brilliance in bog graffiti scripture.

image: © p_a_h

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