PAOLO DI CANIO has revealed that Wes Brown shrugged off the prospect of prematurely ending his Sunderland contract to prolong his playing career.
Brown found the net for the Black Cats in today’s Barclays Asia Trophy victory over Tottenham Hotspur, as Di Canio’s side sealed a place in Saturday’s tournament final.
The 33-year-old hasn’t played a competitive game since injuring his knee in January 2012 and broke down when he attempted a comeback during Sunderland’s pre-season tour of South Korea last summer.
Head coach Di Canio suggested after today’s game that Sunderland were prepared to offer Brown a financial settlement on the remaining two years of his contract at the Stadium of Light.
But the former England international was not ready to hang up his boots and has so far managed to participate in Sunderland’s pre-season programme unscathed.
“The club had a conservation with him, but with his strong character, he said ‘I feel a footballer, I want to stay here and prove it’,” said Di Canio today.
“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.”
FULL STORY IN THURSDAY’S GAZETTE