Paolo Di Canio: Louis Thompson praises ex-Swindon boss
Swindon Town youngster Louis Thompson has credited former boss Paolo Di Canio for his rise through the club's ranks.
A product of Town's academy, the midfielder was brought into the first-team by Di Canio last year.
And Thompson has now signed his first professional deal to keep him at the County Ground until 2015.
"I'm thankful to Di Canio because he gave me my chance and toughened me up for my future life," the 18-year-old told BBC Wiltshire.
"It was a bit of a surprise coming straight out of school and in to the Di Canio era. I went from going in twice a week to twice a day. It was a tough time and it made me mature.
"He made me work harder and it made me that bit sharper and gave me an extra edge on people my age.
"He's toughened me up as a person, not just as a player."
After being included on the first-team's pre-season tour of Italy, Thompson made his Swindon debut in the FA Cup defeat by Leicester in January 2012.
He played two more games under now Sunderland boss Di Canio before the Italian quit Town in February.
Thompson has now made four appearances and is looking to impress new manager Kevin MacDonald, who has stated his intention to utilise the youth team squad.
"It gives you a positive vibe that they are emphasising on young players," added Thompson, whose brother, Nathan, also signed a two-year deal on Thursday.
"The new gaffer has worked with a lot of young players and I think it will be good for me.
"I need to impress again. It's not as if I'm going to get straight in the side so I need to challenge myself and hopefully I'll get my rewards next season."