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HomeNEWSMeet worlds first open gay footballer Jake Daniels

Meet worlds first open gay footballer Jake Daniels

Jake Daniels’ decision to come out as the UK’s only openly gay active male professional footballer has laid a “path many others will follow”, says former England striker Gary Lineker.

The Blackpool forward, 17, spoke of the “relief” he has felt in publicly revealing his sexuality on Monday.His announcement was praised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, England captain Harry Kane and several charity groups.

“I think he will be massively accepted,” Lineker told BBC Sport.”Not just in his own dressing room but players he plays against. I think, overall, dressing rooms wouldn’t think about it. They will consider if you’re a good footballer or not. That’s all that matters.

“I’m so pleased as I think he is going down a path many others will follow and I think the game will be better for it. Once they see that the overwhelming majority of people will be accepting, others will follow suit.”‘Football is ready’ to accept gay players.

– Blackpool academy directorDaniels ‘brave & inspiring’ – non-league boss who advised him

Why Daniels coming out is a watershed momentLineker believes Daniels’ announcement “shouldn’t be significant” and that football should have “passed this watershed moment a long time ago”.

Daniels has already responded to the prospect of homophobic abuse by saying that supporters can “shout what you want, it’s not going to make a difference”.

Campaign group Kick it Out congratulated Daniels for a “historic” announcement, adding: “We need to remember there is a young man at the heart of it. A young man who should not have to be defined by this one moment, or this one part of his identity.

“‘What he has done takes incredible courage’England captain Kane said Daniels deserves “massive credit” and stressed “football should be welcoming for everyone”, while ex-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand called for “a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ people in football and beyond”.

Daniels, who made his professional debut this month, has said he has known he was gay since childhood and actively covered it up during school.

Bu

t he has drawn inspiration from, among others, Olympic diver Tom Daley and Adelaide United player Josh Cavallo – who came out last October and is the only current openly gay top-flight male professional footballer in the world.

Cavallo said he was “very proud” of Daniels’ bravery, adding: “It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that my story has helped guide Jake to be his true self.”

“The game has not dealt with this issue well at all,” former Manchester United captain Gary Neville told Sky Sports.”We know that now it is something that is acceptable from a fan point of view, but it’s not yet got into the dressing room. A dressing room can be an evil place… you think about the initiation ceremonies you go through, the peer pressure and vulnerability you have.”

The way in which Jake spoke was absolutely incredible. What he has just done takes incredible courage. It’s a day of great importance for Jake and his family, but also for English football. It will go down in history. It is a big, big moment for football.”‘The environment is changing’

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