Newcastle have mounting problems after Dortmund defeat | Football Digest
Newcastle United star Sandro Tonali is set to play against Wolves on Saturday despite receiving a 10-month ban for breaching betting regulations. The Italian midfielder received a lengthy ban that will see him miss the entire season, but he will be available for selection this weekend. Head coach Eddie Howe has vowed to continue selecting him while the last remaining details of his ban are finalised.
The 23-year-old, who signed from AC Milan in July in a £60million deal, will be suspended from playing football for 10 months once the ban is ratified. Tonali will also partake in eight months of gambling rehab after admitting to placing bets on his own team while playing in Italy.
Gabriele Gravina, president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), revealed on Thursday that a plea agreement had been reached with Tonali’s camp regarding a 10-month ban.
But the final details are still being ironed out, with Tonali playing in the Magpies 1-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday. And Howe has confirmed he will use Tonali so long as he is available – adding there is a “high chance” the central midfielder could feature against Wolves at Molineux on Saturday.
READ MORE Newcastle ‘earmark’ Ruben Neves to replace suspended Sandro Tonali[TRANSFERS]
When asked if Tonali could play, Howe told reporters on Friday: “Yes, there is a high chance he could be available. There are a few things that have to happen before the ban is imposed.”
Tonali has made 11 appearances for the club this season and scored on his debut in the 5-1 win over Aston Villa. It remains to be seen whether Newcastle will look to replace him in the January transfer market with a loan or permanent signing, or cope with the squad they currently have.
In the meantime, Howe admits he is facing a nervous wait as to when Tonali’s ban will officially begin after being left in the dark by the Italian authorities. “It is difficult. We have not had confirmation as a club,” he added. “We heard the news and statement but not had anything from the Italian authorities and we are in limbo waiting for confirmation.
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Italian politician proposes Newcastle add four clauses to Sandro Tonali contract[NEWS]
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“He came on and did well against Dortmund. He was bright and he trained well. His mood is the same. He is good around the group and training ground. I’m sure when he goes home there are difficult times for him but he is handling it well.
“We had no idea this [the ban] was a possibility. There is frustration and disappointment that we won’t have a quality player for a period of time. There is always scope to improve the education we deliver for our young players. All pitfalls have been there for years and the better we get good guidance to them to avoid them.
“If he is banned for that time, he is going to have difficult moments in that time frame. Attention on is initially then a period when it is training wherever he trains and not for a game. The communication between us will be important.
“Ten months is a long time for a professional athlete not to do what he does. Especially on the scale of the pitch. In training, you can get used to small-sided games.”
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