Keown wrote in the Daily Mail: "There's been a lot of negativity surrounding Paolo Di Canio's appointment as Sunderland manager. But with regards to football, it could be an inspired appointment. I think he will keep the club up.
"Watching his press conference yesterday, I couldn't help but be impressed by his passion. It is infectious and the Italian seems to have a plan to save the club from the drop.
"As much as hearing him talking about himself in the third person grates on me, the Di Canio show should have a positive effect on the players. He is an animated character who will demand attention and that will stop the players thinking about themselves and their position near the bottom of the Premier League.
"With so much attention on him, it could take the pressure off the players as they travel to Chelsea this weekend. And don't forget that Di Canio knows all about winning at Stamford Bridge - he scored twice as West Ham won there 3-2 in 2002."