THE public focus on the rise of young striker Miles Storey is having a detrimental effect on his development, according to Paolo Di Canio.
Storey, a product of the club’s youth system, has become a household name amongst Swindon Town supporters following his goals against Stevenage and Aston Villa and a subsequent call-up to the England Under 19 squad.
Some have suggested that the 18-year-old could end up playing at the top level, if he matures to his maximum potential, but Di Canio has been irritated by such comments – hinting that that kind of praise may be hindering Storey’s capacity for self-improvement.
“I don’t want to put him down but when the people say words and have the power to say words and the words go public, they have to be careful,” said the Town manager.
“This guy in the last 10 days has lost the confidence because he probably heard some words that he should play in the Premiership. I didn’t play him the last few games and maybe he lost confidence. That is not the way to improve a player.
“Today you saw a player who probably can’t play even in the Blue Conference. Not because he can’t play in the Blue Conference, I have to be clear, because it’s an instance to burn and kill the enthusiasm and as humble as people can be.
“Today we saw he still can’t handle the ball, can’t have a first touch. The fact that Louis Thompson and Miles Storey improved a lot in the last few months is because they came full-time with me six or seven months ago.
“You can see now that the first touch is not the first touch of a player who can play even in League One. It’s not a tough criticism of Miles Storey because Miles Storey will have his future as a professional, but we don’t know. We can’t predict at what level.
“Stop people talking about. The fans can dream, the fans can say what they want, they pay their money and they can idolise their players – not the people who have to have responsibility.
“Two years ago when I came to this club, someone presented me five young players that grew up in this environment in the Swindon youth academy.
“They presented them to me like they were the best production of the youth academy. You know where they are now? They disappeared. Not one plays as a professional. They came with me in Norcia now not one of those plays as a professional – only one, in League Two, scoring one goal in 16 or 17 games at Torquay – Paul Bodin’s son.
“The other five disappeared. So before we’re talking about the Premier League and a fantastic future we have to be careful.
“I have to help him understand that the reality is different, that he has to remain a humble person.
“Don’t speak about this, I know how to drive my players.”