England legend Karen Carney has revealed she has struggled to deal with the abuse that has flowed her way on Twitter since starting a career as a football pundit.
Carney played 144 times for England in a glittering playing career and has now moved into broadcasting, working as a pundit with BT Sport for their coverage of the women’s Champions League.
Speaking exclusively to TEAMtalk, Carney has admitted the snipes she has had to deal with on social media from critics of her high profile media role has been upsetting, as she admits it has forced her to step away from Twitter.
“It is upsetting and it does bother me to be honest,” she told us. “The way I’ve tried to deal with it is is to assure myself that all pundits get it, but I don’t think you can ignore it
“It’s difficult because you work so hard and you want to do the best you can, but you are in a job where you have to give an opinion and you have to appreciate that not everyone is going to like your opinion.
“I’ve been there when I don’t like somebody’s views or comments but I wouldn’t go and abuse them online. I’d either just turn over or get on with it
“I’ve had so many occasions where I’m like, I don’t need Twitter, I don’t want to be on it, but the world we live in you do need to be on it. You have your own brand, your sponsors and media want you to have it.
“I’ve got a niece and it’s difficult for me to tell her how to deal with it when sometimes I’ve not dealt with it too well myself.”
Carney’s experiences have been echoed by former England stars Alex Scott, Eni Aluko and Rachel Brown-Finnis, who have all be subjected to abuse online after becoming pundits on high profile networks.
“Whether we are talking about men’s or women’s football, we have a lot of experience in the game on a number of levels and we can contribute to the debate on the sport,” BT Sport expert Brown-Finnis told TEAMtalk.
“People like myself and Alex have more than enough experience to offer something different to the viewer and I hope that people agree we have shown that we can articulate it the viewers.
“That has been normalised in the last year or so with myself, Alex and Sue Smith getting a chance to be regular pundits on mainstream channels.
“One thing I would never agree with his tokenism and while some businesses have quota systems in terms of women employees, that is not something I would support. You have to first and foremost prove that you are the best person for the job and that has to be the No1 criteria.
“It is wonderful to see more and more women working on Premier League football both as presenters and pundits and it reflects how the world has changed over the last 25 years.
“If people don’t like women on men’s football that is up to them, but we are doing the job to the best of our ability and don’t want to be judged as female pundits, just pundits who have played the game and have something to offer.”
Watch the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final exclusively live from 6:30pm on BT Sport 1. Also watch for free via the BT Sport app, btsport.com, or BT Sport’s YouTube, Twitter and Facebook pages.