Eddie Howe fires back at claims Sandro Tonali doesn't want to be at Newcastle
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Eddie Howe has hit out at reports claiming Sandro Tonali doesn't want to be at Newcastle United following his big-money move this summer.
He produced a stellar showing in the middle of the park as he played a role in his side's opening goal against the Scottish outfit.
His debut comes after reports in Italy suggested the star midfielder doesn't want to be at the club and 'had to be dragged' onto the plane that took him to the North of England.
But Howe has fired back at those claims and is adamant the 23-year-old wants to be at St. James' Park ahead of the 2023/24 campaign.
"I think that’s (the Italian reports) totally misguided," said the 45-year-old following his side's 2-1 at Ibrox. "Sandro is very, very proud to be here, and proud to wear the shirt and represent the club.
"That was made very clear to me very early, otherwise we wouldn’t have committed to the transfer. We don’t have any kind of desire to drag anyone to Newcastle - they have to want to run there with no shoes on.
"That’s the mentality we want because you have to have that togetherness, spirit and desire to do well. That can only come from a desire to play for the club."
Tonali made a great impression as he completed 45 minutes on his first start for his new club and impressed the Magpies boss.
"I was very impressed with Sandro," added Howe. "I thought he was excellent. Everything we hoped he would bring, he did in that first 45 minutes.
"He was very calm and composed, and technically, he was at a very high level. He built good relationships with the players around him, and looked at home in a black-and-white shirt. It was a great start for him.
"We had a quick nod and a smile after the game. I think you could see he was enjoying himself by his body language and how he plays.
"He looked like he was enjoying himself, certainly with some of the players around him, in that first half.
"I’d be surprised if he didn’t enjoy playing that type of football, with the players that he’s with. There was a really attractive style, I thought we moved the ball really well, and he was pivotal to that."