JAKE DANIELS came out as the first openly-gay British footballer for 32 years.
The only prominent male English footballer to have done so previously was Justin Fashanu, who revealed he was gay in 1990 – he took his own life eight years later.
Blackpool forward Daniels, 17, said he no longer wanted to live a lie – after knowing his sexuality from a young age.
The teenager has already received widespread support from his family, team-mates and the Stonewall charity after taking the brave step.
And he joins Australian Josh Cavallo as the only current male gay professional player in world football.
Here is Daniels' full statement on the Blackpool website…
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Blackpool’s Jake Daniels becomes 1st openly gay footballer since Fashanu
Who is Jake Daniels? Blackpool footballer comes out as gay
This season has been a fantastic one for me on the pitch.
I’ve made my first-team debut, scored 30 goals for the youth team, signed my first professional contract and shared success with my team-mates, going on a great run in the FA Youth Cup and lifting the Lancashire FA Pro-Youth Cup.
But off the pitch I’ve been hiding the real me and who I really am.
I’ve known my whole life that I’m gay, and I now feel that I’m ready to come out and be myself.
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It’s a step into the unknown being one of the first footballers in this country to reveal my sexuality, but I’ve been inspired by Josh Cavallo, Matt Morton and athletes from other sports, like Tom Daley, to have the courage and determination to drive change.
In reaching this point, I’ve had some of the best support and advice from my family, my club, my agent and Stonewall, who have all been incredibly proactive in putting my interests and welfare first.
I have also confided in my team-mates in the youth team here at Blackpool, and they too have embraced the news and supported my decision to open up and tell people.
I’ve hated lying my whole life and feeling the need to change to fit in.
I want to be a role model myself by doing this.
There are people out there in the same space as me that may not feel comfortable revealing their sexuality.
I just want to tell them that you don’t have to change who you are, or how you should be, just to fit in.
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You being you, and being happy, is what matters most.
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