Blackpool forward Jake Daniels has become the UK’s first openly gay male professional footballer. 

​Daniels, 17, is the first male professional footballer in the UK to come out publicly as gay since Justin Fashanu in 1990.

He spoke of his relief of coming out as gay and expressed his happiness at his brave decision.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “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.

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“However, I knew that would lead to a long time of lying and not being able to be myself or lead the life that I want to.”

Daniels added: “Since I’ve come out to my family, my club and my teammates, that period of overthinking everything and the stress it created has gone. It was impacting my mental health.

“Now I am just confident and happy to be myself finally.”

On coming out to his family, he revealed: “I told my mum and my sister. The day after we played Accrington and I scored four, so it just shows how much of a weight off the shoulders it was and a massive relief.”

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Image: PA

Daniels is enjoying a brilliant campaign this season, having scored 30 goals for the youth team and signing his first professional contract.

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He also made his first senior appearance for the club earlier this month, debuting against Peterborough United.

Featured Image Credit: Blackpool/Sky Sports

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