• Premier League

Di Canio praises 'perfect professional' Brown

ESPN staff
July 24, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Wes Brown made a goal-scoring return for Sunderland against Tottenham © Getty Images
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Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio has revealed defender Wes Brown turned down a pay-off from the club as he wanted to continue his career at the Stadium of Light.

Brown, 33, joined Sunderland from Manchester United in 2011 but has suffered with injuries that have reduced him to just 20 appearances in two seasons, with his last competitive game for the Black Cats coming in January 2012.

That led to an offer to terminate his contract, but the former England defender made a goal-scoring return in Wednesday's 3-1 friendly victory over Tottenham and Di Canio has been impressed by his determination.

"The club had a conservation with him, but with his strong character, he [Brown] said: 'I feel a footballer, I want to stay here and prove it'," Di Canio told the Sunderland Echo. "Because I'm an intelligent manager, I didn't have any preclusion to anyone doing that.

"He was the perfect professional to have in a squad and what a player. He hasn't stopped for one minute in a training session. My pre-season is very tough, but he hasn't had any problems."

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