Manchester United defender Phil Jones has spoken about the toxic nature of social media in today’s game and the effect it can have on players.
Jones has suffered more than most with internet abuse and trolling over his 10 years in the spotlight at Old Trafford.
As a result, the 29-year-old has not posted on social media for over four years, but this hasn’t entirely stopped the damaging repercussions:
“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 recently told the UTD Podcast.
“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.”
A decade at one of the biggest clubs in the world has allowed the England international to learn to cope with the abuse, but Jones believes young players coming through must get to grips with it as soon as possible:
“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.
“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.”
Jones hasn’t featured for United since a January 2020 FA Cup tie with Tranmere Rovers, having been kept on the sidelines with a persistent knee issue.
However, now back to full fitness, having featured in a number of behind closed doors outings, Jones was recently included in the matchday squad for a Carabao Cup tie against West Ham.
And with the unfortunate news that both Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane will face a spell out injured, Jones could conceivably get some minutes over the coming weeks in a comeback that has been described as a ‘miracle’.