Di Canio talks up prospects of Hammers job

September 6, 2008

Former West Ham favourite Paolo Di Canio has revealed his "pride" at being linked with the Upton Park managerial vacancy and claimed the claret and blue shirt "still feels like a second skin".

GettyImagesThe Italian was a hero at Upton Park.

The 40-year-old Italian, who played for the Hammers between 1999 and 2003, is one of the names being touted as Alan Curbishley's successor following his resignation on Wednesday.

Di Canio, who gained his UEFA coaching licence in April, told the Sun: "West Ham is a unique club and history means something. The fact we've had so few managers and the fact the vast majority were former players is important.

"For me the shirt still feels like a second skin and I've followed West Ham as a fan ever since I left. I saw them play twice last season and know some of the players personally.

"Of course, as a professional, I'm going to consider every offer. But the fact that I've been linked to the West Ham job is a huge source of pride for me."

Di Canio is a controversial figure but he insists his career can follow the same path as Roy Keane, who is now a respected manager at Sunderland after a fiery career on the pitch.

"When you grow older, if you're intelligent, you learn your role and adjust," he continued.

"Look at Roy Keane. As a player, people talked about the red mist descending, they said he could channel it on the pitch but that he was simply too intense to be a manager.

"Well, look at him now. He has embraced his job and his responsibility. He's doing a great job at Sunderland and you can see he is calm and controlled during and after games.

"Why? Because he's an intelligent guy who has grown into a different role. I like to think it can be the same with me."