Di Canio was appointed manager of Sunderland at the end of March following the dismissal of Martin O’Neill, with the club sitting just one point above the relegation zone with seven games of the season remaining.
The former Swindon manager has been under scrutiny since his arrival for his supposed political views, but Terry has hailed the Italian in light of negative press attention.
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"So very fair, very passionate, as we've seen with his character, and his ability was fantastic. He was a credit and I can only speak highly of him."
Terry played against Di Canio during his spells in the Premier League with West Ham and Charlton, and the defender spoke of the influence the former forward had on his career.
Terry continued: "He always spoke to me after games and said: 'Listen, maybe you should do this and do that,' which was really nice at the time.
"What did he say? Just certain things. When he made certain movements I should maybe have been tighter and stuff like that. I was only young at the time when I was playing against him when he was at West Ham and sides like that.
"I had the likes of [Gianfranco] Zola and these guys teaching me every day but from an opposition player it was quite nice to get that literally two-word sentence. A two-word sentence was enough and something I learned from."