HomeTonali available for Newcastle despite betting investigation

Tonali available for Newcastle despite betting investigation

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Newcastle have “thrown their arms” around Sandro Tonali, according to boss Eddie Howe, with the Italy midfielder available for selection for tomorrow’s clash with Crystal Palace.

Tonali is under investigation by the Turin Public Prosecutor’s Office into illegal betting practices with his agent admitting his client is a gambling addict.

The investigation prompted the FIGC (Italian FA) to release the 23-year-old from the national squad for the Euro 2024 doubleheader against Malta and England, meaning he could return to Tyneside.

And that time spent in England has allowed Howe time to assess the player’s physical and mental state ahead of the visit of Roy Hodgson’s men to St James’ Park.

Howe said: “He’s very much with us, he trained twice this week and is available for selection.

“Like I always do, I’ll analyse his training performances, how they look, how they feel and Sandro has trained well.”

Asked if he’s in the right frame of mind to play, Howe added: “He’s had a very difficult couple of weeks, he’s been dealing with a lot. From what I can see, and I see him for a few hours a day, he’s handling himself really well and he’s dealing with the emotions but I am sure beneath that there’s a lot going on.

“So I will have to make a call. I have to bring it back to football, I have to bring it back to his training performances and try to make the best decision for the team.”

Newcastle released a statement on Wednesday stating they will back the player fully, and Howe reinforced that message.

“The most important thing is Sandro and his welfare. It’s easy to forget how young he is, the changes he’s had in his life coming from Italy to England and now he has this situation,” he said.

“As a football club, we’ll throw our arms around him, protect him, give him the love and support he needs to find solutions to the problems he’s had.

“There are a lot of conversations, communication with him and his family, it’s been a big effort from us and he’s handled himself superbly well. He’s emotional but has handled himself with respect and dignity.”

Reports in Italy suggest that, having admitted betting on matches that involved his club at the time – Brescia and Milan – Tonali could be facing a ban from football of around a year but Howe said he had no information about the potential sanction.

“There are other people dealing with that that may have a better idea, my focus is on Sandro himself and the training this week,” said Howe, who also refused to speculate on whether Milan knew of Tonali’s situation before selling him to Newcastle over the summer.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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