West Ham captain Mark Noble: Social media trolls can devastate young players

Evening Standard
Thick skinned: West Ham’s Mark Noble: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
Thick skinned: West Ham’s Mark Noble: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

West Ham captain Mark Noble believes that irresponsible criticism on social media can have a devastating effect on young players.

Noble, who misses West Ham’s home Premier League clash against Leicester tomorrow with a thigh injury, has also attempted to explain recent comments, which have angered some supporters.

The 29-year-old midfielder, who has been at the club throughout his career, said in a TV interview: “If I’m really honest, a lot of people who go to football now don’t really understand the game.” Now Noble has sought to clarify the comments and has also called for restraint from critical fans on social media.

“Times are very different now,” he said.

“Instead of walking out of the ground and having a moan to your mate or your dad, some people leap straight on social media and troll the player directly.

“You have a right to moan, of course, but negativity spreads and it can affect everyone, especially younger players who have not developed a thick-skin like us more experienced ones.

“What I am saying is that we need to be positive, inside the dressing room, in the stands and on social media.

“I also want to clarify some comments I made in an interview I gave at the start of the week, as I feel they didn’t come across as I wanted them to.

“I was asked about the criticism that has been levelled at me and the team this season, and I just want to make it clear that I wasn’t digging out West Ham United fans in general, because I can assure you if I wasn’t playing I’d be sitting with them.

“When it comes to the criticism, there is a small minority who just want to criticise the players and the manager at the first opportunity. As much as we try to ignore the comments made on social media, sometimes they are unavoidable and while I’m not fussed about whether I get stick or not, some players are affected by it.

“I think back to exactly 10 years ago, when we were bottom of the Premier League.

“If social media existed then like it does today, people would have been calling for Alan Curbishley to be sacked or for all the players to be dropped, including Carlos Tevez!

“Then what happened? Everything clicked and we won seven out of our last nine games to stay up!”

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