Jurgen Klopp ‘proud’ of Jake Daniels after Blackpool forward comes out as gay

·2-min read

Jurgen Klopp has said he is ‘proud’ of Jake Daniels after the Blackpool forward became the only openly gay active player in the Football League this week.

Daniels, 17, is also just the second British male in football to come out as gay, with Justin Fashanu having done so more than 30 years ago.

Following Daniels’ announcement on Monday, Liverpool coach Klopp has said he is “really happy” for the teenager and “proud”, too.

“Fantastic that he feels brave enough to do that,” said Klopp, per This Is Anfield.

“At 17 years is exceptional. When I saw him talking, I couldn’t believe he was 17 years old. He’s obviously a very mature boy.

“The whole football community will support him with whatever we can do, I am 100 percent sure. I loved how he really delivered his message. He is right in what he said. He didn’t want to hide anymore. Good, 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 said what he said, and he’s exactly where he wants to be. Absolutely top class.”

Daniels, 17, said his Blackpool teammates have ‘all been so supportive’ (Alamy)
Daniels, 17, said his Blackpool teammates have ‘all been so supportive’ (Alamy)

Upon coming out as gay, Daniels told Sky Sports: “For a long time I’ve thought I would have to hide my truth because I wanted to be, and now I am, a professional footballer.

“I asked myself if I should wait until I’ve retired to come out. No other player in the professional game here is out.

“Blackpool have been absolutely amazing, too. I am with them every day and I felt safe. My teammates have all been so supportive about it and everyone has had my back.”

The only openly gay man currently playing in a top division in world football is Josh Cavallo of Australian team Adelaide United. The 22-year-old midfielder made the announcement in October.

Daniels came through the junior system of Championship club Blackpool, joining their ranks aged seven.

He signed his first professional contract in February of this year before joining Northern Premier League side Bamber Bridge on loan for the remainder of the 2021/22 season.

He made his full Tangerines debut earlier this month, coming on as a late substitute in the 5-0 league defeat by Peterborough United.

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