'Maybe, with this guy, I have to slap his face a little bit,' the Italian said.
'I'm talking about motivating him in a genuine way because he has so much potential. But sometimes he comes in (to training) and he seems to be looking around saying: “Where am I?” I want to say: “You are on the football pitch, with the grass.”
'He is an intelligent guy, but once he seemed to be complaining because it was wet. I told him that is typical for this area. Maybe if he doesn't go out in a small t-shirt when it is wet and cold, he won't be complaining. I have told him: “No small t-shirts.”'
The 20 year old has failed to make an impact since former Black Cats boss Steve Bruce signed him for £8.1million from Ipswich almost two years ago.
But Di Canio has urged him to concentrate on football if he wants to live up to the reputation he brought to the club.
'I don't want him to be missing a couple of games because he is a Playboy model. We are footballers, that is our job.'