Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale has hit back at online trolls.
Ramsdale probably came in for the most criticism among Blades players at the weekend after their 4-1 defeat to Chelsea.
Including on this website, where we questioned whether the 22-year-old is the right option between the posts currently.
Ramsdale was at fault for the Blues’ second goal on a poor day all round for United. The ‘keeper failed to deal with a cross to the far post which Ben Chilwell bundled into the net.
Ramsdale was far from the only player who disappointed at Stamford Bridge, though. The defending was resoundingly dreadful as Chris Wilder’s side capitulated in the second half.
The result leaves them rock bottom of the Premier League with just one point from their opening eight games. It’s the joint worst start since the division was rebranded in 1992.
Criticism is therefore justified. But that isn’t what Ramsdale is complaining about.
Sheffield United stopper hits back at trolls
In his Instagram story after the Chelsea loss, Ramsdale linked to a story about an Australian footballer who has quit the sport at the age of 22 – the same age as him.
— Ryan (@ryanmathews1893) November 8, 2020
Josh Hope told Sport Bible he made the decision because of anxiety caused largely by online abuse.
Ollie Norwood – who started only his third league game this season in west London – also defended himself and his teammates.
— Gem. ⚔️ (@GemTollerfield) November 8, 2020
Again, this isn’t to say the Blades should be immune from any criticism. Although, Wilder and his team should certainly have built up a certain amount of leeway considering the rapid rise they have engineered since 2016.
However, there is no place for personal abuse. At a time when mental health issues are at the forefront of society’s collective consciousness, it’s important to remember the effect online trolling has.
Criticise a bad display, such as that on Saturday, by all means. But keep it purely about football and never get personal.
What this squad really needs from fans during perhaps their only major crisis since Wilder became manager four-and-a-half years ago, is support.
If you can’t do it in the stands because of the pandemic, then do it online instead. Players clearly read it and it does affect them. Remember that.