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The British Media and our young footballing talents

Mason Greenwood has become the latest young English star to find himself at the end of another negative storyline, something that has not been uncommon in the past calling into question the aspect of player welfare and the effect this can have on our most promising players.

David Beckham, the Manchester United and England winger, who seemed as though he could do no wrong, found himself at the end of a torrent of abuse from fans after his red card against Argentina, only aided by the media, leading to a public appeal for all the abuse to stop. Beckham later described the abuse as “brutal”.

The ex-footballer has gone on to suggest that the backlash he received was lighter than what is given today.

If social media was around when I was going through that time in ‘98, it would have been a whole different story.” said Beckham.

More recently, Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has been the latest homegrown talent to face criticism, although this time, it has been with regards to issues off of the football pitch. He was criticised for an out of context gun tattoo, which newspapers implied was to endorse violence but was instead to pay tribute to his father, and he was just one of the most recent of a long list of players that have faced the same unwarranted negative media attention.

The abuse has impacted Sterling’s personal life and has forced him into “constantly thinking if I do this, something bad will come of it”.

The latest victim of a media onslaught appears to be Mason Greenwood, who after an article discussing a possible fear amongst the United ranks that he could ‘throw his career away like Ravel Morrison’ from anonymous sources, has enraged football fans across social media who don’t see why he should suffer the villainization that he has done, especially after Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer openly dismissed the rumours previously.

Player care has had to adapt and evolve in the new media landscape that athletes find themselves in. Earlier this year, the PFA revealed that players accessing their counselling services had rose to a record 643 in 2019, suggesting that more has to be done to protect those players who need it most in the face of a world that will quickly forget your talent at the expense of a headline that is guaranteed to garner attention.

Author: Abraham Adebayo