Jake Daniels’ decision to come out as Britain’s only openly gay professional footballer is a “massive step forward”, says Manchester City’s Jack Grealish.
In an exclusive interview with Sky News, the England star Jack Grealish has praised the Blackpool FC player’s decision to reveal his sexuality after “such a long time of lying”.
Grealish, who is currently England’s most expensive player said: “I think it shows a lot of courage and no one can disagree with that. I think it’s absolutely brilliant and it’s a massive step forward.”
The former Aston Villa midfielder is now part of a scheme trying to make the sport more inclusive and accessible for the country’s most deprived children. He believes football “is for absolutely everyone”.
Speaking to Sky News he said: “I saw there was a guy in Australia, in the A-league that came out and I hope it pushed Jake Daniels to be able to think he could do that as well. And I think now, fingers crossed, for everyone that can be a big step forward because football is for absolutely everyone.”
On a temporary practice pitch outside the National Football museum in Manchester, two of England’s biggest stars launched a project by McDonald’s to give free training sessions to a million 5-11 year olds.
As well as Manchester City’s Jack Grealish, Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson sneaked in an extra training session in the sun although the two rivals didn’t speak or shake hands ahead of crucial final matches this weekend.
Joining the at the event was Arsenal and England striker Beth Mead. She welcomed the initiative and said inclusivity was not something she experienced much of when she started playing football.
“I think it was an hour to get to the closest football centre for me to play at,” she said. “At the time it was just boys and it was quite isolating for me to get there and not know anyone, get there late and not be there consistently which was difficult.
“So credit to my mum and dad for getting me there most times and credit to my mum for working two jobs.”
In the midst of a deepening cost of living crisis – the McDonald’s-backed scheme offer some of the country’s most deprived children the chance for free and inclusive football sessions, and that is something Jack Grealish welcomes.
“Going back to when I was a young kid, all I ever wanted to do was to play football. If I got to do this as a young lad it would have been a dream, even the surface, playing on here, it’s brilliant.”