Jurgen Klopp says he is ‘100 per cent sure’ football will support Jake Daniels after Blackpool forward came out as gay… with Liverpool boss now hopeful others will follow in the 17-year-old’s footsteps
Jurgen Klopp insists football will ‘100 per cent’ support ‘brave’ Jake Daniels after he came out as gay, and is hopeful others may now follow suit.
The Blackpool striker became the first openly gay male footballer in Britain to come out while still playing since Justin Fashanu in 1990 after revealing his sexuality earlier this week on Sky Sports.
The 17-year-old has received a wave of support from former and current players, as well as managers and governing bodies following his announcement.
German boss Klopp has now added his support after watching his Liverpool side take the Premier League title race to the final day of the season after a 2-1 victory at Southampton.
‘Fantastic that he feels brave enough to do that,’ the 54-year-old said. ‘When I saw him talking I couldn’t believe he was 17 years old. He’s obviously very mature.
‘The whole football community will support him with whatever we can do, I am 100 per cent sure.
Jurgen Klopp (above) insists football will ‘100 per cent’ support ‘brave’ Jake Daniels after he came out as gay
The announcement from Daniels (right) has been greeted with widespread support
‘I loved how he really delivered his message. He is right in what he said. He didn’t want to hide any more. Good. That is exactly the right way to do it.
‘I don’t know him but I’m really proud of him. It’s an important step. We live in 2022. That we have to make such a big thing of it is crazy, but we’re getting there.
‘It’s a good start and now I hope others will follow and can do that as well. It would be absolutely outstanding.
‘I’m really happy for him. He’s exactly where he wants to be. Top class.’
The only openly gay man to have played in English soccer’s professional leagues previously was Justin Fashanu
Klopp’s comments come after Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher praised Daniels’ actions, as did Josh Cavallo, who last year became the only current top-flight male professional footballer in the world to come out as gay.
‘I want to stop and take a moment to acknowledge Jake’s announcement and say how very proud I am for his bravery,’ Cavallo said in quotes carried by The Guardian.
‘It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that my story has helped guide Jake to be his true self.
Josh Cavallo, who last year became the only current gat top-flight male professional footballer in the world, offered his support to Daniels
‘It’s touching to see the millions of people that my story has impacted and inspired around the world, and to see it help evolve the world game at all levels, is fantastic.
‘This world and the game of football has a place for everyone. Love will always win.’
But Blackpool defender Marvin Ekpiteta was forced to apologise for historical homophobic social media posts which have left him embarrassed in the wake of team-mate Daniels coming out.
Ekpiteta, 26, subsequently deleted the offending posts and on Tuesday evening issued an unreserved apology expressing regret for his actions a decade ago ‘which do not in any way reflect the values I hold now’.
But Daniels’ team-mate Marvin Ekpiteta was forced to apologise for historical homophobic social media posts
Daniels made his first-team debut earlier this month, coming off the bench during Blackpool’s final game of the Championship season away at Peterborough United.
He signed pro terms with his boyhood club a day after scoring in the FA Youth Cup against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in February and landed a sponsorship deal with adidas last week.
One of the brightest prospects from the club’s academy for years, the striker — who started out as a winger — first joined the club’s youth ranks aged seven and scored 30 goals for the youth team this season.
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