Mannone, 25, said: "I remember Paolo playing for Milan.
"He had a really good career with a few Italian clubs and in the UK as well, of course. He was a great player and you can only learn from great players.
"He did great work at Swindon and a good job here at Sunderland also after he joined.
"Of course, he is a hard worker and that's what I am too. It's something good to have in common.
"I know how we work in our country - we like to work hard. Obviously it will be a good challenge and there will be some good work ahead of us."