Newcastle United midfielder Joe Willock has revealed he considered quitting social media due to the racist abuse he has been subjected to online.
Willock, who completed a permanent move from Arsenal to Newcastle last week, says more must be done to prevent individuals from sending such vile messages.
“Every day I get messages,” Willock told BBC Radio Newcastle. “Messages saying about my colour or different things that are disgusting, really.
“There’s not much you can do – you just have to try and ignore it. I don’t think Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have put up enough of a fight for us to do anything else.
“I feel like the only thing you can do in this day and age is just ignore it and try to put it at the back of your head.
“It comes up on your phone and they have a way of direct messaging you on to your phone these disgusting things and it sort of hurts. It hurts a lot – even speaking about it.”
He added: “If you come off social media, you lose that connection with all the wonderful fans that are supporting you every day, want to see your everyday life and see what you do and have that connection with you over the platform that they wouldn’t have in real life.”
Willock spent the second half of 2020-21 on loan at St James’ Park and scored eight goals in 14 Premier League appearances for Steve Bruce’s side.
The 21-year-old had netted only once in 40 Premier League games for the Gunners before his move to Newcastle, for whom he scored 16 minutes into his debut at home to Southampton.
Willock had an outstanding end to the campaign with goals in successive appearances against Tottenham, West Ham, Liverpool, Leicester City, Manchester City and Sheffield United to become the youngest player to net in six consecutive Premier League games.