Titus Bramble has blasted Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio, insisting the Italian still has "a lot to learn" if he is to become a top manager.
During a candid interview with the Daily Telegraph, the 31-year-old, who will leave the club when his contract expires in the summer, revealed that he believes the former Swindon boss has already made significant mistakes in his handling of first team players.
One of several players to have fallen foul of Di Canio since his arrival in late March, Bramble was fined two weeks wages for missing a gym session that he is adamant nobody had informed him about.
Intending to fight the charge with the help of the PFA, the former Wigan and Newcastle defender revealed that Di Canio struggles to match up to some of his former managers.
"I've never played under anyone like him and I've played for some of the best managers around," Bramble told the Telegraph. "Steve Bruce, Roberto Martínez and Sir Bobby Robson. He thinks he knows everything, but he has got a lot to learn. He's got a long, long way to go before he gets anywhere near as good as Sir Bobby Robson.
"He's a young manager trying to stamp his mark on things, but he's making some big mistakes. He's targeted the easy players, the ones who are leaving anyway, trying to show he's the boss.
"I was fined for not going to a weights session. Everyone else at the club thought it was ridiculous, but he's trying to be tough. The fines he has tried to dish out are way too harsh. I've been told by the PFA he did exactly the same thing at Swindon and they fought him then too. He was fine at first, but he's a strange person.
"We all remember what he did as a player, shoving a referee over. He was no angel and players know that. Then he comes in and starts trying to make out he's an angel and does everything perfectly. There are a lot of strong characters in that Sunderland dressing room and he is upsetting them. It isn't just those who are leaving."
Lamenting his approach with a number of first team players, Bramble focused his ire towards comments Di Canio recently made regarding young striker Connor Wickham. Claiming he was ready to "slap" the £8million signing from Ipswich, Di Canio also questioned Wickham's motivation towards the game, referring to him as a "playboy model".
"He comes out in the media and hammers players and he hasn't said a word to them," Bramble explained. "Imagine how Connor Wickham felt when he was told by his family what the manager had said about him [being too worried about how he looks] in the press. He's never said anything like that to his face.
"He's 19 and the manager is battering him in the media. Fine, say that behind closed doors, keep it in house. Managers have a go at players all the time, but in the dressing room or in their office. You don't see the top managers behaving like he does. He seems to be more worried about his image outside of the club, sounding good in the media, than anything else. It's a dangerous game to play."
Meanwhile, the homes of Black Cats players Phil Bardsley and Stephane Sessegnon have reportedly been broken into while the two were on holidays.
The Guardian reports Bardsley and Sessegnon each had two cars stolen from their homes, although there is believed to be no link between the incidents.
Northumbria police arrested a man in relation to the break-in at Sessegnon's home in Ponteland, Northumberland and recovered a Range Rover.