Former Manchester United star Michael Owen has revealed that the abuse he has received on social media has made him change his personality.

The ex-Liverpool and England striker, who retired at the end of last season following a brief stay at Stoke City, believes the ease with which anyone can make use of the popular websites is to blame for the level of hatred expressed by people he has never met. Writing in his personal blog, he said: “Footballers (certainly at the very top level) are privileged to be paid so handsomely for kicking a ball around. “However, the thing that I really can’t accept and that I’ve noticed more and more in recent years is the level of personal, not professional, hatred and abuse that is directed at players and ex-players alike. “It may well be that social media has given people an easy opportunity to hurl abuse at all times of the day and night although the levels to which some people stoop are really quite shocking. ”Owen lifted the lid on the anxiety such issues have caused him when he meets new people.
He added:  “Whatever the reasons, it does mean that a large part of any online interaction I’ve had with strangers in recent times has had a large dollop of abuse attached to it and consequently I’ve found it hard to meet people without having my guard up. “This is not a cry for sympathy, just a sad fact of my life. ”

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