Brentford's McCormack: Di Canio changed my footballing life
Alan McCormack has paid tribute to former boss Paulo Di Canio for his rise to prominence in Brentford’s watertight back four.
The 29-year-old Irishman has helped the Bees to five clean sheets in their past eight games, as his team have climbed to fourth in the League One table.
Boss Uwe Rosler signed McCormack from Swindon Town in the summer primarily as a midfielder, but the Dubliner has been deployed at right back in recent weeks ahead of Shaleum Logan.
The former Preston North End trainee, a key man in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers, was again influential in Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Peterborough United, as he crossed for Gabriel Zakuani’s own goal and George Saville’s equaliser.
McCormack hailed Di Canio’s influence on his career at the County Ground and the defender, pictured below, warned Logan he would not be relinquishing his starting slot in a hurry.
“I played quite a lot under Paulo at Swindon and he coached me at centre half and right back. I didn’t really play a lot in centre midfield under him,” he said.
“I learned a hell of a lot from him and have a lot to be thankful for. To come here with that experience of playing centre back, right back and centre midfield impressed the manager.
“We spoke in the summer and Uwe said there might be a time when Shay [Shaleum Logan] got injured or wasn’t performing and that I could step into that position.
“I know I can adapt and I feel I’m really stepping into that position and getting fitter in that position.
“I’ve just got to keep improving. Shay is sitting on the bench and wants to get his place back. If I slip up or have average games I’m not going to be in the team and that is not what I want to happen.
“Shay is an exceptional player.
“Even in training he is not letting his head go down. You have to give him credit .
“Some players will moan about not being in the team, but he is not and is working hard to get in the team.”
"That is keeping me on my toes.”
McCormack reckoned it was that sort of work ethic that could take the team into the Championship come the end of the season.
And he admitted the squad were only too aware time was running out for them to fulfil their ambitions of stepping up to the second tier of English football.
“The players we have here every one of them can play in the Championship and wants to get to play in the Championship,” he added.
“There are a few of us who are a bit older and have been in this division a few years now and are getting a bit tired of this division. We know our chances of getting to the next level are running out.
“We’re working ever so hard to get there. There is a great mix of youth and experience in the side. We’re all helping each other out to achieve that one goal.
“The young lads keep the older lads on their toes and the older lads, keep the young boys honest.”
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