Online abuse of footballers 'getting worse', says Man City and England defender Alex Greenwood

Lauren James and Alex Greenwood with the FA Women's Championship trophy in 2019
Alex Greenwood's former Manchester United team-mate Lauren James has received racist abuse online

Manchester City and England defender Alex Greenwood says she has had to "learn to deal" with online abuse - but believes it is "getting worse".

Greenwood's former Manchester United team-mate Lauren James, 19, said she received racist abuse on social media earlier this month.

Players in both the men's and women's game have been sent abusive messages in recent weeks.

"I've been through it myself. It's not nice to see," said Greenwood, 27.

"I've seen the situation with racism at the moment, the situation with the referee, death threats. It's completely unacceptable.

"I'm totally aware that people have loyalties to clubs, which is normal. But I think when it crosses the line and becomes personal, something has to be done about it.

"It's happened far too often now and for me, it seems like it's getting worse."

Both Facebook, which owns Instagram, and Twitter say they are committed to eradicating abuse on their platforms.

The UK government has, however, threatened social media companies with "large fines" which could amount to "billions of pounds" if they fail to tackle abuse.

"At Manchester City, we spoke about [Lauren James'] situation, if there's anything we can do to help her," Greenwood added. "And then individuals in the team, myself included, stuff I see on my Instagram, my Twitter - and that's not just Manchester derbies or big games, that's on a daily basis, it happens every single day.

"I think it's how you learn to deal with it. That's something I've learned to do. It doesn't affect me maybe as it would have four, five months ago."

Speaking before the Lionesses' friendly against Northern Ireland on Tuesday, Greenwood's City and England team-mate Ellen White said online abuse was "something we need to stamp out".

"It's horrendous, the types of comments and what people are saying, trolling, the abusive messages that are being sent to Lauren and a number of players in both men's and women's football," said the forward.

"That needs to completely change and be completely taken out of the game.

"Lauren shouldn't have to be going through and experiencing these type of comments."

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