Premier League - Di Canio - Fletcher will flourish

New Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio has told striker Steven Fletcher he will make him an even better player.

PA Sport
Premier League - Di Canio - Fletcher will flourish

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Steven Fletcher (Reuters)

The 44-year-old Italian is yet to see the Scot in action having arrived at the Stadium of Light at the end of March with the former Wolves frontman having already been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign by ankle ligament damage.

Fletcher has since undergone surgery and is now fighting to be fit for the start of the new season, but the absence of a man who had scored 11 goals before misfortune struck has proved costly with January arrival Danny Graham yet to get off the mark.

However, having secured the club's Barclays Premier League status ahead of Sunday's final day trip to Tottenham, former Swindon manager Di Canio is already planning for the new campaign and relishing the chance to work with last summer's £12million signing.

He said: "First of all, let him recover because he has had this surgery. Then I hope he is going to enjoy working with me. I am happy to work with him, but I hope he will be happy to work with me because he can improve a lot.

"If you understand that, until today, he has played only not to be relegated. He has to become a footballer for a team that wants to finish and establish the club in the top 10 every time.

"I hope he is going to keep on scoring like he has because he scored 11 goals and he is the top scorer.

"Sometimes I tell my strikers, 'under me, you're going to score more goals, probably, but maybe less sometimes. I don't care if you work hard'.

"In League Two, I had a striker score 11 goals, but we finished top. I had four players with 11 goals. There were other strikers in League Two with 28, 29 goals, relegated to the Conference. We have to work together and work so hard for the team's cause, for the club's cause."

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