Watkins famously described Di Canio's style as "management by hand grenade" and now believes the North East club's board will face a challenge to pick up the pieces after his explosive spell came to an abrupt end.
"To the best of my knowledge Sunderland didn't make any approach to anyone at Swindon to ask them whether they could provide advice as to what they should be alert to," Watkins told the Daily Mail.
"Having worked for 18 months with Paolo it was certainly an experience, and I or others could have provided valuable insight into how they could have managed the situation a little more astutely.
"My intention would never have been to dissuade Ellis Short from appointing Paolo, far from it, but what I would have been able to point to certain issues.
"He was demanding of the board in terms of supporting his ambition. He brought in a raft of players for a pretty high budget and there were some fallings out, one or two players of good quality became casualties."