Jordan Cousins: QPR midfielder on social media, his passion for the local community and keeping Premier League dream alive
Abuse hurled at football players used to be something confined solely to the terraces where angry supporters vented their frustrations at what they are witnessing on the pitch.
Yet the development of technology has triggered new methods of expressing opinions on anything and everything associated with ‘the beautiful game’.
QPR midfielder Jordan Cousins used to be an avid user of social media, but says he now distances himself from the likes of Twitter and Instagram.
Cousins, 25, believes some players are doing themselves more harm than good spending excessive time looking at these platforms.
Speaking exclusively to talkSPORT.com, he said: “Football is very intense, I can see why some players struggle.
“When I was younger I used to look at it a lot, but not anymore. It’s not worth it.
“I’ve slowly tried to stay away from all types of social media, it’s a very occasional glance these days.
“If you spend too much time on it then it can really play on your mental side.
“Some players are constantly on it, that doesn’t do them any good whatsoever in my opinion.
“I’ve said to a couple of the lads here to stay away from it, it does more harm than good.”
The west London outfit have endured a difficult season, with a wretched run in 2019 – yielding just one league win in 15 games – seeing Steve McClaren axed last month.
A 4-0 win against Swansea last Saturday all but confirmed Rangers’ Championship status for another season, but owner Tony Fernandes has come in for tough criticism on social media, as well as the squad, in what has been a testing period for the club.
Cousins added: “It’s all fun and games when you’re winning, but when you’re not it can be a really awful place [Twitter].
“Fans can be very ruthless, especially on social media. Some of the criticism on there is too much in all honesty.
“I feel like it could really damage some the brain of some footballers.
“Luckily for me I’m a very strong minded person. I’ve been through a lot and I don’t let that sort of thing affect me.
“Being a footballer can be a lonely world. We get a lot of spare time, so that’s why I keep myself busy so my mind is in a good place.”
The former England youth international arrived at Loftus Road in July 2016 with hefty expectations placed upon his shoulders following a £1.4m move from boyhood club Charlton.
It has been far from plain sailing for Cousins, however, enduring more than his fair share of setbacks during his three-year stint in W12 to date.
Injuries have massively stagnated his progress, while he has also struggled to nail down a regular berth in midfield – being deployed in a variety of positions under several different managers.
Many players would have struggled to cope with the emotional repercussions of that, but not Cousins.
Away from the bubble of professional football, he has kept himself busy.
Two years ago he set up Evolution Sports, a coaching company that helps promote social inclusion in schools and sports clubs across south-east London.
Cousins has 12 part-time coaches on his books who deliver the sessions, and with the work load set to increase in the coming months – some of them will be taken on a full-time basis.
The midfielder also holds an FA qualified coaching licence himself and has aspirations of working in an academy when he eventually hangs up his boots.
talkSPORT were invited down to a session at James Wolfe Primary school in Greenwich, where Cousins spent the early years of his life, and his passion for his community shone through.
“It’s been a very rewarding initiative for me,” he explained.
“We’ve been doing this for nearly two years now and we’re constantly looking at ways to expand.
“At the moment we work with six different primary schools in the area, delivering 50 hours a week coaching, in and outside of school premises.
“It’s just part of me giving back to the kids. I’ve been in the same situation at the end of the day.
“There’s not a lot for them to do after school these days, a lot of things are shutting down in the community.
“By me creating this company it means they can stay after school and keep them in a safe place.
“We’ve had a couple of lads have trials at professional clubs. One lad got to go to Charlton’s pre camp, so that was good.
“I will use my contacts at Charlton and QPR to help these kids if they are good enough, but first and foremost it’s at about them having fun and keeping fit in their spare time.”
Cousins’ long term future is still very much up in the air, with no discussions yet to take place between the club and his representatives over a new deal.
QPR have the option to activate a clause in his current deal to extend his contract by another season, but to date there has been no indication this will be taken up.
“It’s been difficult for me at QPR,” he admitted.
“But this season I feel there’s been a light at the end of the tunnel.
“I’ve personally really enjoyed it as I’ve played regularly and I feel like I’m getting back to my best.
“My sole aim coming into this season was to play as many games as possible and stay injury free and I’ve been able to do that.
“At the end of the day I’m very lucky and privileged to get paid for something I love doing and play in front of thousands of people. I don’t forget my roots and I know just how fortunate I am.”
Cousins has made 32 appearances so far this season, just five games short off the total he had featured in the entirety of the two previous years.
The utility man has shown signs of returning to his best form, which was seen on a regular basis for his former side Charlton.
The lung-busting run and subsequent strike against Leeds in the FA Cup gave Rs fans a glimpse of the potential he possesses.
He followed that up an excellent display – in his words his best in a QPR shirt to date – in a narrow defeat against Watford in the fifth round of the competition.
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Cousins is content with what he has achieved so far in his career, but knows he has more to give.
“Hopefully I’ve got eight to 10 years left in football. My dream is and always has been to play in the Premier League,” he said.
“Some people might turn their nose up at that thought, but I’ve worked very hard to get to where I am right now and I won’t shy away from my dreams.
“There’s been up and downs, by no means would I say I’m really pleased with my career so far, but I am content with where I am right now.
“I know what I need to do to take my game to the next level. Whether it happens in the next two years, five years or whenever I will strive to get to that stage.”
Cousins has a way to go to achieve that, but whether that happens or not – it won’t be for the lack of trying.
Source: SportsLatest TS