Newcastle United's Sandro Tonali during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo/File Photo
(Reuters) - Sandro Tonali is still available for selection at Newcastle United for their Premier League game with Crystal Palace, despite the Italian midfielder's ongoing investigation for illegal betting, manager Eddie Howe said on Friday.
Newcastle confirmed on Wednesday that the Italian Prosecutor's Office and Italian Football Federation (FIGC) were looking into Tonali. The player has not commented publicly.
"He trained twice this week with us and he's very much available for selection," Howe told reporters. "Like I do with all the players, I analyse their training performances, how they look, how they feel. Sandro has trained well with us."
Tonali, 23, had been training with the Italy squad before their Euro 2024 qualifiers with Malta and England, but was given permission to leave after news of the investigation.
"He's had a very, very difficult couple of weeks. He's been dealing with a lot and from what I can see he's handling himself really well and he's dealing with his emotions incredibly strongly, but underneath I'm sure there's a lot going on," Howe said.
"I'll have to make a call but I always bring it back to football."
Despite the extra headache, Howe said he had sympathy.
"It's very easy for people to forget how young he is and the changes he's had in his life coming from Italy to England. That's hard enough to deal with and now he has this situation," he said.
"We all have vulnerabilities, weaknesses, things that happen in our lives that can be difficult so the main thing is we identify it, support the player as we always do, try and help them get to their best level on the pitch."
On his squad's injuries, Howe was optimistic that Brazilian midfielder Joelinton might be back for Saturday's game against Crystal Palace after missing two fixtures.
"I hope so. He's trained well and looks good."
Alexander Isak, who was replaced late in Newcastle's last game, faces a late fitness test.
Sven Botman has been out with a knee injury for the last three games. "Sven is improving. The two weeks have been good to him," the manager said.
Newcastle are eighth in the table, seven points behind leaders Tottenham Hotspur. Crystal Palace are one point behind Howe's side.