THERE has been a lot of criticism for the England football team this week despite the fact they have won two matches in four days, and are through to next year’s World Cup unbeaten in qualifying.

So what exactly is going on.

Yes, England are a difficult watch right now. If you want entertainment I wouldn’t recommend the national team at the moment.

But I think there is something else in play here, the very modern phenomenon of social media.

Previously you complained to just friends and family about how poor a sports team was doing.

Now though, millions of negative views are expressed on social media platforms in an instant, and this gets back to coaching staff and players.

Constructive criticism is fine of course, no one has an issue with expressing an opinion that England are poor and need to improve.

But in a quick glance on social media you can see the cauldron of hate that goes too far, aimed directly at young players who have only just started playing for their country.

I just can’t see what any of that achieves - what is the point?

When people send these tweets and messages do they believe it will actually make a difference and the players will suddenly play better?

In reality it is more likely to have the opposite effect.

This isn’t unique to the England football team by the way, it’s happening across all levels of football - including Worcester City’s non-league level - and in all sports.

In the past few years I can remember Olympians criticised for not getting gold, Andy Murray abused for going out of tournaments, even snooker players being abused about their weight.

This all feeds into the bigger issue of abusive generally on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

The sexism, racism and homophobia is horrific to see, and would put anyone off the sites.

Yet I still remain a fan of social media, and believe it to be more positive than negative.

For instance, going back to England, Marcus Rashford’s tweet celebrating qualifying was liked more than 20,000 times, had more than 3,000 retweets, and lots of supportive messages. That is what we need more of, as those positive messages are what help players, and people generally, to achieve in life.