Manchester United defender Phil Jones believes young players entering the game should now be mentally able to deal with the “toxic” environment on social media after turning his back on his online presence.
The 29-year-old, who has been the subject of a series of internet memes, has endured his fair share of abuse after being exposed to a tough time at Old Trafford in recent years.
As a result, while his social media accounts remain live, he has not posted on Twitter since May 2017 and the following month for Instagram, just because of the abuse he received.
“I stepped away from social media a long time ago, but it’s hard because all your friends read it, your family read it, and they support you, they want the best for you,” Jones told UTD podcast, out Monday.
“They do not want to see their spouse, their husband, their father being slaughtered anywhere in the newspapers or anywhere in the media, so it’s hard, because mentally I was going through a hard time and (then) also reading things …
“It is difficult, but it is something I have learned to deal with, especially over the time I have been at United, and the more experience you get, the older you get, the better you learn to deal with these things.
“I suppose for young players coming into the match now, not only at Man United, but all over the world, it’s a very hostile, toxic place to come in and they need to be able to handle it mentally as well. as physical.
“I see how the game has evolved over the last 10 years, and the way social media has evolved, and it’s hard to stay away from it. It’s hard not to be distracted by it ( and) young players come into the game, I think it’s hard for them not to read it.
“I know as a young player, that’s the first thing you do: you get out of the game and you want to see what people say about you, and when you remove it all in reality, it does not matter what they say. because they are not
selects the team. “
Jones has not played for United since an FA Cup draw against Tranmere in January 2020 due to a knee problem, but has been in a couple of friendly matches behind closed doors and was in the squad for last month’s Carabao Cup defeat to West Ham .
However, his return to fitness may prove timely as Harry Maguire is out for a few weeks with a calf problem and summer signing Raphael Varane was forced to be injured in France’s last win in the Nations League victory over Spain.
It could mean for the match against Leicester on Saturday that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær seems to have to field Victor Lindelof plus either Eric Bailly, whose one performance this season came in that defeat in the cup tournament for West Ham, or potentially Jones.
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