- Newcastle star Sandro Tonali to face former club AC Milan in Champions League
- The 23-year-old has opened up on his struggles adapting to life in the North East
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast It’s All Kicking Off!
Newcastle star Sandro Tonali has opened up on his struggles adapting to life in the North East as he prepares to face his former club AC Milan.
The 23-year-old midfielder arrived on Tyneside in a £52million deal this summer as Newcastle strengthened their squad ahead of Champions League return.
Tonali said: ‘This summer has been hard and I’ve had a difficult start. At the beginning it was not easy to find my place, but I have found people to support me and to help me and I started to be happier.
‘Mr Howe and my team-mates have been great. They are helping me in my personal and professional life. They have helped me settle. The language at the beginning was very, very difficult for me, communicating with the guys I found extremely tough, but it is getting easier and I’m very happy. It is getting easier.’
The Italy midfielder wasted no time in sampling some of the city’s nightlife – by popping in to a local Wetherspoons.
Newcastle star Sandro Tonali is ready to face former club AC Milan in the Champions League
The 23-year-old midfielder has opened up on his struggles adapting to life in the North East
The Italy international was pictured in a local Wetherspoons in a viral social media post
Your browser does not support iframes.
He said: ‘After the game against Villa I had asked people about places and restaurants to spend a night with my family. I didn’t receive the answer I was expecting. I spent the night in a pub in my city. You don’t usually go to the pub with family but it was a special night! Fun!’
While he admits it will be a strange feeling going back to the club he supports, he said it will not be a problem once the whistle goes to start the game.
‘I think I’m going to feel the emotion tomorrow at 90%. Today it’s at 10%,’ Tonali told reporters on Monday. ‘I’ve met some people I’m familiar with at Milan and have been in touch with them.
‘It’s hard emotions because they don’t happen all the time in football. They’re special and I’ll remember them forever. This is the team I support and the team that gave me a chance to succeed. Things have completely changed. I am here as a rival, I have to manage that but it won’t be a problem.’
It will be more of a problem for his father who is a passionate Milan fan.
‘I don’t know who he will support. I don’t want to be in his head but I think he will take care of me! I hope he will support me but it’s very difficult to change a supporter’s mind about their team,’ Tonali said.
‘I think he will support Milan and support me. Maybe he will want a draw?’