Sandro Tonali: Newcastle boss Eddie Howe confirms midfielder is available to face Crystal Palace

20 October 2023 0 By Total Football News
Newcastle midfielder Sandro TonaliSandro Tonali has featured in seven of Newcastle's eight Premier League games this season - starting five times

Newcastle midfielder Sandro Tonali has endured a "difficult couple of weeks" but could play against Crystal Palace on Saturday, says manager Eddie Howe.

Tonali is being investigated by the Italian Prosecutor's Office and the Italian football federation in relation to alleged illegal betting activity.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa say Nicolo Zaniolo - also under investigation - is available to face West Ham.

"[Tonali] is very much available for selection," Howe said.

"He's had a very, very difficult couple of weeks, he's been dealing with a lot and, from what I can see, from a few hours a day, he's handling himself really well and is dealing with emotions incredibly strongly."

Tonali and Zaniolo left Italy's training camp for Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and England after being told they were under investigation.

Capped 15 times by Italy, Tonali joined Newcastle from AC Milan in July for £55m and has scored one goal in seven appearances in the Premier League.

"I got a phone call from Dan Ashworth [Newcastle's sporting director] during the international break," added Howe, on first hearing the news Tonali was being investigated.

"It was a total surprise to me, to him, to everybody. These are things when you're in this job that can happen. My immediate thought process was to make sure Sandro was OK."

On Tuesday, Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagioli was given a seven-month suspension by the Italian football federation (FIGC) for breaching betting rules.

Fagioli had five months of a one-year ban suspended and was fined 12,500 euros (£10,848).

He also agreed to a therapy plan of at least six months to tackle his gambling problem.

"Education is always the most important thing, in academies, getting information through to players and develop good habits in life so important as a professional athlete," said Howe.

"Try to get as many (players) as can to have as long a career as possible. Our duty as a football club is to help them do that."

Newcastle are eighth in the Premier League, with four wins from their opening eight games, and are unbeaten in seven across all competitions - including an impressive 4-1 win over Paris St-Germain in the Champions League at St James' Park.

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