Mon 23 Oct 2023, 09:38 · Ash Harrison

‘No decision’: Howe now shares his thinking behind whether Sandro Tonali would play on Saturday

‘No decision’: Howe now shares his thinking behind whether Sandro Tonali would play on Saturday
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Sandro Tonali made what may be his last Premier League appearance for a long time on Saturday.

After the news broke about Sandro Tonali being investigated for alleged breaches of betting laws back in Italy from when he was a player for AC Milan, Newcastle fans were wondering if they'd seen the last of the Italian star for a while.

The investigation is moving at a rapid pace when you compare it to how long it took for Ivan Toney's punishment to be handed out. Toney managed to continue playing for months during his investigation, but Tonali is set to find out his fate this week while Nicolo Fagioli is already serving out his suspension.

Eddie Howe had a big call to make regarding Sandro Tonali

Given everything that has gone on in the past week or so, it was always going to be a coin toss as to whether Eddie Howe would include Tonali in the matchday squad to face Crystal Palace on Saturday.

In the run-up to Saturday's 4-0 win Howe was very clear that Tonali was in contention to play but there was still a feeling that maybe Tonali's head wouldn't be in the right space to compete.

As it turned out Tonali was on the bench but did come on with around 20 minutes to go, receiving a rapturous reception from the Toon Army. At the end of the game, during the post-match victory lap, Eddie Howe sent Tonali out to the front to lead the team around to ensure he felt the love from the supporters.

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Sandro will learn his fate this week

Howe wanted Tonali to feel the love

Speaking to The Athletic, Howe has now talked about why he did that and also his thinking behind sending Tonali on to play.

“It came to me as we were starting our walk that I wanted him to be at the front, to see the love closer up. It’s just a big thank-you from me to our supporters because that reaction, that reception at the end was incredible. And it was emotional."

Howe went on to share that Tonali wanted to play.

“He very much wanted to play and perform, I’m sure. For me, there was no decision to make in the sense of would I or could I play him, no part of me that thought, ‘Oh, he’s not ready to play football’. It was just, ‘Yes’. Then we had to introduce him at the right time and make sure it was right for the team. He played well when he came on. Hopefully, it’s a big step forward for him, moving forward with his life.”

That may well have been Tonali's last Premier League appearance before his suspension starts, whatever that may be. There's a hearing set for today in which Tonali could learn his fate, but Howe will likely be hoping that the verdict doesn't come until later this week so that Tonali can feature one last time in the Champions League against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.

And by Howe, I mean we.