United and De Gea support Jake Daniels
Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea has joined the football world in praising Blackpool’s Jake Daniels for coming out as the UK's only openly gay active male professional footballer.
The 17-year-old Championship forward is the first player in the UK men’s game for more than 30 years to come out while still playing, following on from Justin Fashanu in 1990.
“This season has been a fantastic one for me on the pitch,” says Daniels in a statement released today via Blackpool’s website. “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.
We're proud of you, Jake. You're an inspiration to us and many others 👏— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 16, 2022
“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 pro-active 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. You being you, and being happy, is what matters most.”
HOW TWITTER REACTED
United goalkeeper De Gea was quick to show his admiration for Daniels, as the football world showed its support for his announcement.
Take a look below...
Amazing courage and bravery Jake. https://t.co/1vh13e7nlu— David de Gea (@D_DeGea) May 16, 2022
Massive respect for this brave decision. Let's all help create a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ people in football and beyond! 👏🏽 https://t.co/KUpCaYPap7— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) May 16, 2022
"There are people out there in the same space as me that may not feel comfortable revealing their sexuality.— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) May 16, 2022
"I want to tell them that you don’t have to change who you are or how you should be, just to fit in. You being you, and being happy, is what matters most."
The footballing world is with you, Jake 🏳️🌈— Premier League (@premierleague) May 16, 2022
👏 Brave, honest and truly inspirational. Well done, Jake. The European football community is with you.— UEFA (@UEFA) May 16, 2022
The whole football community must continue to work to make our game an environment where all those involved feel safe and supported, and where they feel comfortable when choosing how to tell their own stories.— Professional Footballers' Association (@PFA) May 16, 2022