Adel Taarabt can become as good as Paolo Di Canio, according to Queen Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp after the Moroccan striker earned the London club a first Premier League victory of the season at the weekend.
Redknapp never saw the best of Taarabt when he had him under his wing at Tottenham Hotspur, describing the showman as a "fruitcake" but there are signs that he is finally delivering on the talent once compared to that of Zinedine Zidane.
"He's hard work. He was a complete fruitcake at Tottenham and he can still be a bit of a nut. But his heart's in the right place," Redknapp was quoted in British newspapers on Monday.
"I had Di Canio and this boy is a genius, he can play with anybody. Talented people like that are difficult to handle. Paolo was difficult to handle but he was a genius who could win you a match and Adel is the same."
While his first goal in the 2-1 victory over Fulham was aided by a deflection, Taarabt's second goal was replayed over and over again at the weekend.
An audacious stepover in which he switched the ball across his body with his studs was followed in one silky movement by a perfect finish with the outside of his right foot.
Fulham boss Martin Jol, who was Tottenham manager when Taarabt joined on loan from Lens in 2007 but was sacked shortly afterwards, was also glowing in his praise.
"He is a wizard - sometimes in a good way. Wizards are more or less egocentric and selfish," Jol said. "Football is not always about teams but he is relatively young and sometimes he can give you a headache.
"I tried to sign him when I was in Germany and at Amsterdam."
Italian Di Canio, now manager of Swindon Town in England's s
third tier, was one of the most popular players to play for West Ham, scoring 51 goals in little more than 130 games.
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