Sunderland Manager Paolo Di Canio has warned £10m forward Connor Wickham that he risks unconventional motivation methods if he does not begin to justify the price tag paid to Ipswich almost two years ago.
Wickham who has started on just 9 of his 32 appearances for the Black Cats has managed just two goals since his move to the Stadium of Light and Di Canio said:
“Maybe, with this guy, I have to slap his face a little bit.”
“I’m talking about motivating him in a genuine way because he has so much potential. But sometimes he comes in (to training) and he seems to be looking around saying, ‘Where am I?’. I want to say, ‘You are on the football pitch, with the grass’.”
“He is an intelligent guy, but once he seemed to be complaining because it was wet. I told him that is typical for this area. Maybe if he doesn’t go out in a small T-shirt when it is wet and cold, he won’t be complaining. I have told him, ‘No small T-shirts’. I don’t want him to be missing a couple of games because he is a Playboy model. We are footballers, that is our job.”
Despite Wickham’s fallow time in front of goal he is expected to lead the England Under-21 attack in the European Championships in the summer.