Sandro Tonali is available for Newcastle’s match agianst Crystal Palace says Eddie Howe
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Eddie Howe has put Sandro Tonali’s wellbeing first as he insisted the midfielder is available for selection ahead of Newcastle’s Premier League match against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Tonali is being investigated by the Italian Prosecutor’s Office and the Italian Football Federation after being accused of illegal betting on football.
The Newcastle midfielder is cooperating fully with the police and the Italian football authorities, but faces the prospect of a lengthy ban if found guilty.
The 23-year-old was withdrawn from the Italy squad during the recent international break ahead of matches against Malta and England and reportedly pleaded guilty to betting on AC Milan matches at a hearing with the Italian Football Federation in Turin on Tuesday.
But Howe has stood up for his midfielder.
“He’s had a very, very difficult couple of weeks and has been dealing with a lot. From what I can see he’s handling himself really well and dealing with his emotions strongly but I’ll have to make a call,” the Newcastle manager said in a press conference reported by the club’s social media.
“I have to bring it back to football and what he’s delivering on the pitch to try to make the best decision for the team.
“For me, the most important part of this whole incident is Sandro and his welfare. We feel as a football club, straight away, it was to throw our arms around him and protect him to give him the love and support he needs to find solutions to the problems he has.
“He’s trained twice this week with us and he’s very much available for selection.”
Tonali’s agent said the Italy international is battling a gambling addiction and revealed the player is shocked.
Earlier this week Juventus midfielder Nicolo Fagiolo was banned for 12 months, with five suspended, after he admitted breaching betting regulations, while Aston Villa winger Nicolo Zaniolo is also being investigated.
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