Paulo Di Canio has a big job on his hands at Sunderland
As Sunderland go into a pivotal point of their season, they are one of the most talked about clubs in world football, following the appointment of new manager Paulo Di Canio.
Like many, I was shocked by the sacking of Martin O'Neill. I thought he would be given at least until the end of the season, but after losing at home to Manchester United, owner Ellis Short had clearly seen enough.
He didn't want Sunderland relegated and so a change was made with the controversial Italian appointed to his first top-flight role.
So what is Di Canio actually like as a manager?
The only experience he has is a rollercoaster season and a half in charge of Swindon. However, what can't be denied is that he was a great success during his time at the club. He led them to the League 2 title, playing a style of football rarely seen at that level of the game. Di Canio and Swindon carried that form into League 1 and were among the favourites for a back-to-back promotion when Di Canio resigned in February.
He has shown all the attributes needed to succeed as a manager. He is incredibly passionate about his work and is very hands on at training, which players appreciate in the modern day.
However, there are certain aspects of his managerial style that he will need to curb to be a success in the Premier League. The main one being that he cannot afford to fall out with his players so consistently at Sunderland as he did during his time at Swindon.
Premier League players are worth big money and have large egos, much like Di Canio during his playing days, and they have to be managed, rather than confronted.
Di Canio, though, is a smart man. He will recognise the big change in style that is required and will adapt to make a success of his job. Because what is beyond doubt is that Di Canio is one of the smartest young managers in the game, and Sunderland have found the man who will not only save them this season but has the potential to take them on to the next level of the game.