Roy Hodgson names the Newcastle United star he ‘feels sorry’ for ahead of Crystal Palace game

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson.   (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson.   (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson has expressed his sympathy towards Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali.

Roy Hodgson admits he feels sorry for Newcastle United midfielder Sandro Tonali as the Italian faces a lengthy ban from football.

Tonali is subject to investigation by the Italian Prosecutor’s Office and Italian Football Federation (FIGC) in relation to illegal betting activity. Tonali’s agent Giuseppe Riso revealed earlier this week the player is battling a gambling addiction,

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Reports in Italy say Tonali, who joined from AC Milan in the summer for £52million, could be suspended for 12 months if found guilty. But until the investigation is concluded, the 23-year-old is eligible to feature for the Magpies and is in contention to face Palace at St James’ Park on Saturday.

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson.   (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson.   (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Asked about the Tonali situation, Hodgson replied: “I don’t have any reaction at all. It’s nothing to do with me. I feel sorry for him and I feel sorry for Newcastle. It must be a bitter blow to sign someone you believe in to find after paying a lot of money that maybe you can’t use him for a long period of time.

“That must be a very difficult situation for Eddie Howe and Dan Ashworth but it doesn’t affect us. If Newcastle want to play him then good luck to them. If they decide they don’t then that’s their decision.”

Speaking at Friday’s pre-match press conference, Magpies’ head coach Eddie Howe admitted his main concern is Tonali’s welfare.

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“For me, it’s absolutely crucial,” said Howe. “The most important part of this whole incident is Sandro and his welfare. It’s very easy for people to forget how young he is, the changes he’s had in his life coming from Italy to England.

“That’s hard enough to deal with, and now he has, of course, this situation, so we as a football club straight away, it was throw our arms around him and protect him and try to give him the love and support that he needs to find solutions to the problems that he’s had.

“That’s what we’re endeavouring to do with a lot of conversations, a lot of communication with him and his family, because it’s not just Sandro, it’s the people around him that are going to be so important to him as well.

“It’s been a big effort from us and I have to say, he’s handled himself superbly well. He’s been obviously emotional, but handled himself with respect and dignity.”

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