Former Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana has come to the defence of Neco Williams following some abuse online for the Welsh international.
Williams blacked out his social media last month after he took stick from a section of Liverpool supporters after the club’s 7-2 win over Lincoln in the League Cup.
Lallana says that the people sending abuse Williams’ way are just keyboard warriors and has urged against over criticising young players just because they have an average game or two.
Speaking on the Behind the Lines podcast, as transcribed by The Independent, Lallana offered his thoughts on what Williams has gone through.
“I came across it on my own socials that he took a bit of stick.
“It was such ridiculous scrutiny and opinions from these keyboard warriors.
“This is a young that is learning. Of course, you’re going to have some bad moments in games.
“To see a young lad coming through at a top-level for a top team having to feel like he has deactivate or whatever, it’s just sad, isn’t it?
“You can have one average game and then all the keyboard warriors are out. He is a young boy still, so he is not going to be used to reading things like that.
“This is the world we live in nowadays. He’s a good lad and I’m sure he’ll be stronger for it, but it’s not something that’s needed with all the other pressures around.”
ANFIELD WATCH VERDICT
Lallana is spot on and I hope that every person who reads what he has to say really starts to think about how their words can affect people. Just because it is on the internet and not in person does not mean that the words have less of an impact. Williams was clearly affected badly by the hate he received, as he removed himself from social media, and it was needless after a heavy win for Liverpool.
The Reds won 7-2 – an excellent scoreline – and, yet, some people felt the need to go after Williams for his performance. Instead, they should have been enjoying the win and celebrating going through to the next round of the competition, not berating a teenager who is still learning his trade. As Lallana says, those people are just keyboard warriors and it is completely needless behaviour.
Constructive criticism of a player’s performance is acceptable, as fans have a right to voice their opinion on their team and the players within it. However, when the Tweets, or Instagram comments, or whatever it may be, get personal and aggressive a line is then crossed. There is no need for personal attacks on players for their performances on the pitch. At the end of the day, Williams is just a young man trying to do his best for the club he has grown up in – coming through the academy – and he is bound to make mistakes as he improves his game and progresses as a player.