Phil Jones says all young players must learn to cope with racial abuse thrown online. The Manchester United defender has spoken out in football news about the recent social media abuse he has received. Having not played for the first team since a FA Cup fixture against Tranmere Rovers in January 2020, Jones has had a difficult time at Old Trafford.
Prior to it, he had become a target of internet mockery for what many saw as a period of underperformance. As a result, Jones hasn’t shared anything on social media since 2017. “I stepped away from social media a long time ago but it’s difficult because all your friends read it, your family read it and they support you, they want the best for you,” Jones told the UTD podcast, as quoted by Sky Sports.
“They don’t want to see their mate, their husband, their dad getting slaughtered all over the papers or all over the media, so it’s tough because mentally I was going through a tough time and (then) to read stuff as well. It’s difficult but it’s something I’ve learned to deal with, especially over the time I’ve been at United and the more experience you get, the older you get, the better you learn to deal with those things,” he added.
“I suppose for young players coming into the game now, not just at Man United, but all over the world, it’s a very hostile, toxic place to come into and they’ve got to be able to deal with that mentally as well as physically. I look how the game’s been developed over the last 10 years, and the way social media has developed and it’s difficult to stay away from it.”
“It’s difficult not to get distracted by it (and) young players coming into the game, I think it’s difficult for them not to read it. I know as a young player, that’s the first thing you do: you come off the game and you want to see what people are saying about you and when you strip it all back in reality, it doesn’t really matter what they say because they’re not picking the team.”
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