Phil Jones left 'toxic' world of social media years ago

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Phil Jones of Manchester United shows appreciation to the fans after the Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester United at London Stadium on May 10, 2018 in London, England
Photo: Catherine Ivill/GETTY IMAGES

Manchester United defender Phil Jones has opened up about his decision to leave social media in 2017.

The 29-year-old has been the subject of online abuse for the majority of his injury-hit career at Old Trafford.

Whilst his social media accounts remain active, Jones has not posted on Twitter since May 2017, with his latest Instagram post also coming in 2017.

Speaking to the UTD Podcast, Jones has revealed the struggles he had with social media following mass criticism from pundits and others.

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. 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 to read stuff as well.

I always say that footballers don't have a voice, your voice comes when you finish playing football and no-one really cares anymore. So, 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.

The former England international has learnt to switch off from social media, but admits it is harder for younger players who have grown up constantly looking at their phones.

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 Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and all these social media sites, it's difficult to stay away from it. It's difficult not to get detracted by it, but like I said, 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 last played for United in January 2020 and has been sidelined since with a knee problem.

But the centre-back has featured in a couple of behind-closed-doors friendlies and was named in the squad for last month's Carabao Cup defeat to West Ham United.

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