Di Canio has overseen an extensive rebuilding project at the Stadium of Light, with the summer transfer window seeing 14 fresh faces drafted into the Black Cats' ranks.
Inevitably, an influx of new arrivals has forced some of those already on Sunderland's books down the pecking order.
Cattermole - who skippered the side under Martin O'Neill - fell into that category and looked set to be on his way out of the club at one stage, with Hull City, West Ham United and Cardiff City all reported to be keen.
The combative midfielder has, however, remained on Wearside and will be given an opportunity to force his way back into first team contention by Di Canio.
The Italian said: "I have to be honest, he wasn't in my plans. I told him, to have a future here he had to convince me.
"I need British players, I need the quality, the intensity. I need the fire. He's full of enthusiasm and it's a new start for him."
While Cattermole is back in Di Canio's thoughts, Cabral - who joined Sunderland as a free agent over the summer - finds himself out of favour after just one competitive appearance.
Di Canio said of the 24-year-old midfielder: "At the moment he's behind three other players who have got ahead of him. It's very difficult for him.
"Maybe one day, if he can show me that he understands football, then yes he will play again.
"Otherwise, in the middle, especially against top sides, we will get beaten. At this moment, Cabral has got difficulties."