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Joe Cole Explains Why Paolo Di Canio Could Never Be World Class Despite His Talent

Joe Cole Explains Why Paolo Di Canio Could Never Be World Class Despite His Talent
By Gary Connaughton
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It takes more than just talent to become a truly elite footballer.

There are countless tales down through the years of supremely gifted players that for one reason or another never quite made it at the top level. Even for those who do have brilliant careers, there is often something lacking that stops them from reaching the very pinnacle of the game.

Paolo Di Canio is a prime example.

There were few more talented players in his generation, but he could never quite cut the mustard at the biggest clubs. He didn't stick around for long enough with the most famous teams in his homeland, while he was also never capped by Italy at international level.


It was clear that something was lacking in his mentality, as evidenced by some of his infamous incidents on the pitch during his time in England.

Speaking on BT Sport last night, Di Canio's former West ham teammate Joe Cole summed up why the Italian never quite reached his potential. He also compared it with the current Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang situation, another player you get the sense could have made more of his career.

Paolo Di Canio is a good example.

He came to West Ham and was a fantastic player. I looked up to Paolo, he was the best player I had seen at the time. I was amazed.

But there was holes sometimes in his character. What I mean by that is there were certain away games where, for one reason or another, looking back now I believe he could have played in but he didn't.

At the time I was young and it went over my head. We would play at home the following week and he would be brilliant. You would think 'why is this guy not a regular at a Manchester United or Juventus, he's head and shoulders above us'.

As my career went on and I went to Chelsea and played with the elite players, I saw that you have to tick every box to win trophies and compete at the top level. Then I realised that you have to be on it all the time, through the good and bad times.

Paolo was a fantastic player, but there was a problem with him at away games. I don't know if that is similar to Aubameyang.

We didn't notice it as young players because we thought he was a genius, but looking back at it now the senior players would have been a bit peeved with him for not coming to those away game.

[Jermaine Jenas] was saying that they had a running joke at Newcastle at the time that he didn't play up there, it had been a long time since he had been there.

You realise as your career goes on, why hasn't Aubameyang played in a team that has won a league title when he has scored as many goals as he has? That's the best comparison that I could make.

Aubameyang has never misbehaved to the level of Di Canio, although there does seem to be something lacking in his mentality that most of the world's best footballers do possess.


He was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy due to repeated breaches of club rules, while his form has fallen off a cliff after signing that big money contract last year.

It certainly seems as though his career is trending in the wrong direction.

SEE ALSO: Eddie Howe Only Highlighted His Own Failings During Hayden Head Injury Criticisms

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