Sean Longstaff now gives ‘bold’ admission despite key player’s future at the club

Sean Longstaff is confident that Newcastle can handle the situation as Sandro Tonali faces a potential extended ban in the next 24 hours. The Italian midfielder is awaiting a decision from Italian authorities after confessing to betting offenses during his time at Milan, prior to his £55 million transfer this summer. Even if Tonali’s suspension is announced on Wednesday, it won’t take effect until the following day, so Eddie Howe will have him available for the Champions League clash with Dortmund.


Newcastle United - Sean Longstaff


Longstaff believes that the return of Joelinton and Joe Willock will help soften the blow of losing Tonali. He expressed his optimism, saying, “I’m confident we can manage. We don’t know the outcome yet, but we have Joe Willock returning, Joelinton is fit again, and Elliot Anderson has made significant progress. Additionally, there’s the promising talent Lewis Miley coming through, whom I really admire. The key player is Willock’s return. I could talk all day about how impressive he is, and watching him in training this week, it’s as if he hasn’t missed a minute. I’m really excited to have him back.”

Longstaff admitted that he was initially anxious when Tonali joined the club, as he had been a big admirer of the Italian. He mentioned, “We used to talk about how great he was, and then he walks through the door! I’m not sure if it’s entirely a good thing for me! It’s been an honor to be around him, observe his skills, and see what he brings to the team. Sandro has integrated perfectly into our group. Some people have questioned his happiness here, which seems odd from within the squad because we witness how content he is, laughing and joking with everyone.”

Coach Howe has prepared for the possibility of Tonali being able to play while his situation remains uncertain, pending updates from his legal team. Howe also mentioned that the club would devise a transfer strategy if they were to lose Tonali for a year or more. He stated, “We will have time to prepare a plan for that scenario, but it’s not the time yet. I’m aware that there are plenty of rumors circulating, but until we have definite information, we must wait for January and all that it entails.”

Longstaff reflected on how far Newcastle has come since their relegation battle two years ago, expressing his amazement. He stated, “Considering where many of us were two and a half years ago, the idea of sitting in this position and holding a press conference before a Champions League game seemed almost impossible. Now, we’re trying to savor the momentum and enjoy these good times. A lot of this success has been a long time coming and something we probably didn’t anticipate. So, being in this position now is a true privilege for us.”

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