Dalglish wrote in the Mirror: "I've only met Paolo Di Canio once, at a UNICEF match, and I found him a respectful, decent guy.
"He was very patient and helpful towards everyone there, and I was impressed with him as an individual.
"He's had a lot to deal with this week, following his appointment as Sunderland boss, with accusations that he's a fascist.
"Despite all the allegations that have been thrown at him about his support for fascism, one that hasn't been mentioned was when he won a FIFA Fair Play award in 2001.
"He stopped the game when he had the chance to score for West Ham, because Everton's keeper was down injured.
"It was a really sporting gesture, but I've not seen any mention of that anywhere this week, among all the negative stuff about him.
"I'm not a politician and I would never get involved in politics, because I don't know enough about it to pass judgment.
"But from a footballing point of view he's someone who's very engaging, he's different, he was a brilliant player and he has his own personality, which is fantastic.
"Di Canio turned things round at Swindon and now he has his chance at the Stadium of Light.
"He wears his heart on his sleeve, but who's to say he won't succeed there?"