Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce has reacted to the abuse received by new signing Joe Willock by advising all of his players to stay off social media.
Willock recently completed a permanent move to Newcastle from Arsenal for a reported fee in excess of £20million after a successful loan spell at St James’ Park last season.
The 22-year-old midfielder revealed on Thursday that he considered quitting social media due to the racist abuse he receives on a daily basis.
Bruce said: “How many times have I said to the players they should be avoiding it and that’s the sad part of the modern society we’re in at the moment.
“How people feel they’ve got the right to abuse people. In my opinion it’s a dark place is social media.
“People should be made accountable for what they’re writing and my advice to them all is to stay off it.
“There are certain gains to it I suppose, but there’s more of the other side, which I have certainly been witness to.
“Some of the stuff that’s been written about myself is absolutely shameful and ridiculous.
“So a young lad getting it, or a young girl – for me it has to be policed better.”
Bruce said Willock will be included in his squad for Saturday’s Premier League game at Aston Villa despite a lack of football during pre-season.
Wishing Joe Willock a very happy 22nd birthday! 🥳
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) August 20, 2021
The Magpies boss has not ruled out signing a new defender before the transfer window closes next week and said the absence of goalkeepers Karl Darlow and Martin Dubravka remained a concern.
Freddie Woodman, on loan from Swansea, made his club debut in last Sunday’s 4-2 home defeat to West Ham, with fellow keeper Mark Gillespie on the bench.
“It’s not great when you’ve got your two most experienced ones struggling,” Bruce said.
“Martin unfortunately, the (foot) injury he’s had became infected, which is going to set him back a few weeks and Karl is still not over Covid. Those two are still a long way off.”
Darlow spent time in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus and Bruce said he has urged all his players to be vaccinated.
“It’s fair to say we’ve got a lot of players who have not had the jab and I’ve always said it’s their prerogative,” the Magpies manager said.
“We can only go by the advice, which all of us Premier League managers were given a week or so ago.
“It’s vital people are jabbed and there are statistics to go with that. A quarter of the people in hospital at the moment are under 30, simply because they’re not having the jab.
“We’ve had two or three of our players be really, really sick. Karl wants it out there. He didn’t have any symptoms and within 24 to 48 hours he was in hospital. My advice is to get jabbed.”
Bruce confirmed he will be without midfielder Jonjo Shelvey against Villa due to a fresh calf injury.