Eddie Howe reveals the Newcastle United summer signing who’s trained just once in a month

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Sandro Tonali is still adapting to life at Newcastle United following his big-money from AC Milan.

Eddie Howe believes Newcastle United have signed “a big talent” in Sandro Tonali but sent a reminder that the Italian needs time to adapt to his new surroundings on Tyneside.

The £52million summer recruit from AC Milan starred on his debut by scoring against Aston Villa in the Magpies’ Premier League opener but hasn’t been able to reach similar heights since.

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Tonali went on to feature in consecutive defeats against Manchester City, Liverpool and Brighton & Hove Albion but missed last Saturday’s 1-0 win over Brentford after sustaining a thigh injury on international duty with Italy.

Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali. (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali. (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)
Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali. (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)

He returned to the starting XI for his Milan homecoming in the Champions League on Tuesday night but again struggled to make an impact.

With questions being asked of Tonali, Howe came to the 23-year-old’s defence. And in doing, the Magpies’ head coach revealed the 23-year-old has trained just once in “near-enough a month”.

Howe said: “There is no doubt we can get the best out of him. In the short period of time he has been here, his performance against Aston Villa was high level. There was no surprise about that.

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“That performance against Villa came when he’d been with us for pre-season which is four and a bit weeks of intense work getting to know his teammates. Since then, he has hardly trained with us.

“Internationals, injury. I think he has had one training session in near-enough a month, which then gives you a clue. That is tough for any new player transitioning into a team. You need to train regularly.

“He is adapting well. He is an incredible personality, stable, committed to the project here and he will grow as time goes on.

“I want him to be himself, which is an outstanding technician, a very good athlete. For me, he can play all of the positions in midfield. But we need to give him time. I don’t think we can judge him, or any signings, within a month. Let’s take our time and be patient, because I know the quality of the player that we have.”

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Tonali received an amazing reception from the Milan Ultras when he returned, and Howe believes that tells you all you need to know about his qualities.

Howe said: “It’s worth remembering he’s still a young player. I was so pleased for him the reaction he got from the Milan fans.

“That’s a mark of a few things - how Sandro conducted himself in Milan, how good of a player he is, recognition from a group of supporters.

“Great things for Sandro but also for us as it’s a marker of what a big talent he is. It would have been an emotional night for him but I thought he handled himself well.

“Without speaking for him, he’s probably pleased the game is out the way and he can focus now on the rest of the season with us.”

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