Bruce asks Newcastle players to avoid social media after Willock abuse

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce urged his players to avoid social media after newly-signed midfielder Joe Willock considered quitting the platforms after being subjected to online racist abuse.

FILE PHOTO: Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce called social media a dark place and said that its drawbacks outweighed its gains.   -  REUTERS

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce on Friday urged his players to avoid social media after newly-signed midfielder Joe Willock said he had considered quitting the platforms after being subjected to 'disgusting' racist abuse online.

The 22-year-old Willock, who completed a 25 million pounds ($34.04 million) move from Arsenal last week, said he received abusive messages daily and called on social media companies to do more to combat the problem.

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Bruce told reporters ahead of Saturday's Premier League match at Aston Villa, "I've often said to the players... they should be avoiding it. That's the sad part of society we're in, that people can... racially abuse, whatever they want to do.

"In my opinion, it's a dark place... social media. People should be made accountable for what they write and my advice to them all (the players) would be to stay off it. There's certain gains to it but there's more of the other side.

"I've been witness to some of the stuff that's been written about me that's absolutely shameful and ridiculous. So a young lad or a young girl getting it... for me it'll have to be policed better."

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Newcastle, which lost 4-2 at home to West Ham United in its Premier League opener, will again be without first choice goalkeeper Martin Dubravka due to injury while back-up Karl Darlow is still recovering from COVID-19.

"Martin, unfortunately, the injury he's had has become infected which will set him back another few weeks... those two are still a long way off," Bruce said, adding that midfielder Jonjo Shelvey was also out with a calf injury.

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