By Danny Wright
Harry Redknapp has praised West Ham hero Paolo Di Canio, calling him a genius with a suspect temperament.
Redknapp was a huge fan but admitted he would have to give Di Canio special treatment in training just to ensure he didn’t get into a brawl with his teammates.
The 70-year-old brought Di Canio to Upton Park after impressing him during his time at Sheffield Wednesday, despite serving an infamous 11-game ban for pushing over referee Paul Alcock.
Redknapp was the Irons boss for seven years up until 2001 but he still remembers the impact Di Canio made at the training ground.
“I used to make sure I’d put him on a team in training where nobody would kick him like Stuart Pearce, Nigel Winterburn or Stevie Lomas – somebody who would love a tackle. If someone kicked him it would all blow up and they’d all have a row,” said Redknapp in an interview with Betsafe.
“He was volatile, very temperamental. So I used to make sure I put him on the right team.
“I loved managing him. He was an absolute genius and an absolutely fantastic footballer.”
Di Canio had spells at Lazio, Juventus and AC Milan in Italy before Celtic introduced him to British football in 1996.
After just one season in Glasgow, the Owls signed up the former Italian international where he quickly become a fan favourite.
However that moment of madness when he shoved Alcock to the ground forced a move away from Hillsborough and Redknapp was the one who was brave enough to sign him.
With the Hammers, Di Canio scored 50 goals in 125 appearances in all competitions.
He became a true club legend thanks to his sublime skill and unique personality.
In other West Ham news, scouts have reportedly been sent to Italy in a bid to solve the striker crisis.