Connor Wickham development pleases Paolo Di Canio

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio prior to kick-off in the match against Southampton on August 24, 2013
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Paolo Di Canio speaks of his delight at the maturity that Connor Wickham has shown in recent weeks for Sunderland.

Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has hailed the developments that Connor Wickham has made during the pre-season break.

Towards the end of the last campaign, there had been reports that Italian coach Di Canio had decided to move the England Under-21 international on because he was disappointed with his attitude.

However, speaking after Wickham had scored during last night's 4-2 win over the MK Dons in the League Cup, Di Canio heaped praise on the 20-year-old, who he believes can now have an impact on the Premier League.

"When he left the dressing room at half-time he was upset but I told him not to give up and his body expression was very good," Di Canio is quoted as saying by the Northern Echo. "It wasn't the typical faces, the sad faces, it showed me he was ready so we gave him 40 minutes and he did very well.

"He matured after pre-season, because it was tough and now he has fought for his position and he has proved a lot. He now has the body language and the quality for a Premier League club so I am very happy because he is another talented player we have and I can use for the future and I hope that he doesn't switch off."

Wickham joined the Black Cats from Ipswich Town in the summer of 2011.

New Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio on the touchline during the match against Chelsea on April 7, 2013
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