JOHN Terry has has praised new Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio as a passionate leader who helped him early in his own career.
Terry's Chelsea side are Di Canio's first opponents as Black Cats boss when the Wearsiders head to Stamford Bridge this weekend.
After a week of controversy about the Italian's political views, Terry has pointed towards the footballing reasons for his own deep respect for the the controversial former playmaker.
Terry said of Di Canio: “I played against him when he was at Charlton. He had the chop in the bag, movement was fantastic.
“Just a real nice guy I found on the pitch. Always he spoke to me after games and said 'listen, maybe you should do this and do that', which was really nice at the time.”
Asked for details of the precise advice given him by Di Canio, Terry said: “Just certain things. When he made certain movements, that I should maybe have been tighter and stuff like that.
“I was only young at the time when I was playing against him when he was at West Ham and sides like that.
“Players like that... I had the likes of [Gianfranco] Zola and these guys teaching me every day, but from an opposition player it was quite nice to get that literally two-word sentence. A two-word sentence was enough and something that I learnt from.
"He always gave a battle. If there was a little tussle he'd get up and shake your hand after and that kind of thing. So very fair, very passionate, as we've seen with his character, and his ability was fantastic.
“He was a real tough player to play against. He was a credit and I can only speak highly of him."
Focusing on Sunday's game, Terry said the Blues were not expecting an easy three points from the Premier League strugglers.
He added: “It's going to be really tough. Obviously a new manager has come in, a fantastic player he was as well. He's certainly going to have them up for it.
“You could see how well organised Swindon were over the short period of time he was there. It always seems to be the case - a new manager and Chelsea play that side.
“We must win and keep winning games in the league and really push, because that is what this club feeds off, is the Champions League. We must be involved in that.”