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SWINDON TOWN: McEveley hails the Di Canio effect
“MY ATTITUDE from this time last year is so different. I just see the game in a different light now.”
In only six months, Paolo Di Canio has changed Jay McEveley’s perception of both the game of football and himself as a professional, and the 27-year-old is keen to keep on learning from the Swindon Town manager.
McEveley, who has spent the vast majority of his career playing in the Championship, initially joined Town towards the back end of their League Two title-winning campaign last term, going on to sign permanently with the Robins over the summer.
Despite impressive career stats that show the left-back has played more than 200 times in England’s second tier, it is at the third level of the game that McEveley has had his eyes opened to a different way of approaching his job.
And the former Blackburn, Ipswich and Derby defender told the Advertiser that it did not take long under the direction of Di Canio for him to shift his mindset.
“My attitude from this time last year is so different. I just see the game in a different light now,” he said.
“I’ve bought into his way, the way he wants to do it, and no matter how hard he is and how hard the regime is, he is right.
“It doesn’t matter about the things he says and the way he goes through things, he is right. You sit back and say ‘okay, we’ve got to do it this way’.
“When he stops you in training he shows you the right way to do things. You think ‘that is right’ and it’s obviously about his knowledge of the game. He’s played at the highest level and it’s about learning new things every day.
“Even if you’re 35 and coming towards the end of your career you can still learn something new so I’m glad that I’m learning something new at 27 and hopefully will keep learning stuff.”
McEveley spoke eloquently about the small changes Di Canio has made to matchday preparation at the County Ground, most notably the fact that the Town squad reviews their previous game in detail - win, lose or draw - in a bid to become the best in the division.
“We come in and we watch our clips, what we could have done better and what we’ve done right as well,” he said.
“We did go through the games sometimes at former clubs but it was generally when we’d had a bad performance or you’ve lost.
“Here you can win 4-0 and there’s something you can improve on. There’s nothing missed at all, he doesn’t miss a trick the gaffer.
“You can come in and you’re buzzing - you’ve won 4-0 and you’ve put in a great performance and he’ll pick two or three clips where you’re not right and you’ve got to be right.
“You’ve got to focus on the worst and get those things right because, as the gaffer says, the performance, hard work and playing well should be normal to us. It should be normal.
“You’ve got to work at the things you’re not good at or the things that aren’t consistent in your game.
“I’ve been here long enough to realise that. Maybe last year when I was here and he was pointing these things out it was harder but now I think ‘yeah, that’s fine’.
“I’ll work on it and next time I won’t make that mistake and I’ll move on from there. Hopefully, if all the lads do that, then we’ll cut down on all the silly mistakes and that will give us a better chance of winning.”
Such has been Di Canio’s impact at Swindon, the players are even taking their work home with them as they try to fine-tune their respective games.
And McEveley is no different.
He said: “You think ‘I could’ve done that better, I could’ve done that better,’ you’re sitting at home thinking about it, you can remember what happened in the game and thinking ‘I should have made that run or made that pass’ and that’s what you do.
“I tend to do it Tuesday nights after the game and I did it this week in the house by myself. My crossing could have been a bit better, it’s been quite good the last couple of weeks and I’ve got a few assists, and I want to make sure that’s more consistent.
“I was trying to force things on Tuesday night, probably because we were chasing the game, but I’ll work on that in training through the week and make sure I get that spot on.”