McClaren reveals Sven scouting role
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
McClaren, Eriksson's right-hand man on the international scene, confirmed that he used the Swede to help scout the 23-year-old before paying a club record £8.1 million for him.
"Sven has a lot of contacts in Italy and he checked Massimo out for us," McClaren revealed.
"When you sign a player for £10 or £10m you don't know how he is going to react.
"It's always a gamble, nothing is ever guaranteed. But we checked him out on and off the pitch and we knew his signing was not just a gamble.
McClaren insisted the young Italian still has a lot to learn, despite his wonderful start.
"I don't think Massimo is aware of the fuss because we've told him to speak English but not read it!" McClaren joked.
"He's learning English, he loves it here and is getting a lot of praise.
"But it's about consistency, not what he's done in eight games but what he can do in 38.
"His overall play has impressed everyone. I wouldn't compare him to anyone here in England. He's a one off, there's only one Massimo."