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Championship footballer comes out and becomes only openly gay professional footballer in Britain

‘For a long time I’ve thought I would have to hide my truth because I wanted to be a professional footballer’

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Sky Sports News

A Championship footballer has come out as gay, making him the first current professional footballer in Britain to do so.

Blackpool forward Jake Daniels, seventeen, said he has received ‘amazing support’ from his teammates after opening up about his sexuality. 

In an interview with Sky Sports News today, Daniels said his original plan was to wait until he had retired before coming out, but says he felt ready to ‘be myself’ after ‘such a long time of lying’ about who he is.

He said: “But I just knew that was just such a long time of just lying and not being able to have what I want.

“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.

“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.

“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.”

Daniels said he knew he was gay at around the age of five or six, but admitted that he initially believed football and being gay didn’t mix.

He explained: “So all the way through my life I was like, ‘It’s fine, you’ll get a girlfriend when you’re older and you’ll change and it’ll be fine’.

“And as you do get older you realise you just can’t… and it’s just something you won’t be able to do.

“I’ve had girlfriends in the past to try and make all my mates think I’m straight, and it was just a massive cover-up. So it has been a struggle.”

And speaking of when he first told his teammates, Daniels said they were ‘kind of shocked in a way’ and asked why he didn’t tell them earlier.

He said: “The captain was one of the main people I told and he was just asking loads of questions about it and was like ‘I’m so proud of you’.”

He added: “Everyone has been so supportive and so proud of me and it just shows what a bond we have as a team and everyone is like a family to each other.”

Daniels is the first British male professional footballer to come out as gay since Justin Fashanu in 1990.

Former Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzelsperger also came out as gay after his retirement in 2013.

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Manchester City confirm they’ve reached deal to sign Erling Haaland

City have confirmed they’ve reached a deal to sign striker Erling Haaland this summer

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Manchester City have confirmed that they’ve reached a deal to sign striker Erling Haaland this summer.

Haaland will join City on a permanent deal from Borussia Dortmund on July 1st.

According to journalist Fabrizio Romano: “City will pay €60m [not €75m] release clause to BVB, plus commission to be added.

“His salary will be worth £375,000/week, same level as de Bruyne. Medical has been already completed.”

The club said in a statement: “Manchester City can confirm we have reached an agreement in principle with Borussia Dortmund for the transfer of striker Erling Haaland to the Club on 1st July 2022.

“The transfer remains subject to the Club finalising terms with the player.”

Earlier today City boss Pep Guardiola refused to answer questions about Haaland at a press conference, saying: “Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City have told me I am not allowed to say anything until the deal is completely done.

“I cannot talk, I am sorry. We will have time to talk.”

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England’s It’s Coming Home anthem faces axe at World Cup because it’s seen as ‘arrogant’

The FA says other countries consider the anthem to be ‘arrogant’

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Lightning Seeds VEVO / YouTube

England’s ‘Three Lions’ anthem could be banned at this year’s World Cup because it ‘annoys other countries’.

According to The Sun, discussions are under way at FA headquarters over which song will be played ahead of England matches in Qatar, with the Euro 96 anthem reportedly falling out of favour.

According to ministers, the phrase – which is taken from the Lightning Seeds’ parody song ‘Three Lions’ – is disliked by other countries and seen as ‘arrogant’. 

Reports claim FA bosses are considering replacing ‘Three Lions’ with ‘Sweet Caroline’ by Neil Diamond instead.

An England source told the newspaper that England manager Gareth Southgate hasn’t been involved with the discussions.

They said: “Gareth Southgate isn’t involved in the debate but he may well have decidedly mixed memories about 1996 after missing the penalty which knocked us out in the semi.”

The source added: “The FA have always countered the song’s negatives by stressing that it’s all about hope — but there’s a feeling it might be time for a change.

Read More: Euro 2028 looks set to be held across the UK and Ireland as no other bids emerge

“We have a great squad and a great chance in Qatar so it might be better to look forward from now on rather than back.”

Predictably, this news hasn’t sat well with many England fans, with football icon Paul Gascoigne saying the anthem is ‘part of the country’s DNA’. 

He said: “That song is in our DNA. It helped us in 1996 and it’ll help the boys in Qatar. The FA have totally lost the plot.

“You can’t take that song off us. ‘Sweet Caroline’ doesn’t come close.”

Three Lions became the official pre-match song during Euro ’96, when England famously lost on penalties in the semi-final against Germany.

And ever since, the song has become England’s somewhat ironic football soundtrack as the team have repeatedly failed to bring home trophies.

The final song choice will be announced later this summer after all thirty-two nations taking part in the tournament nominate their own anthems.

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Erik ten Hag confirmed as Manchester United’s new manager

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David Dixon / Geograph

Erik ten Hag has been appointed as Manchester United’s new manager.

The Ajax boss, who took over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after he was sacked in November, will take over from Manchester United’s interim coach Ralf Rangnick in the summer.

Rangnick is expected to step into a two-year consultancy role at Old Trafford.

Ten Hag said in a statement: “It is a great honour to be appointed manager of Manchester United and I am hugely excited by the challenge ahead.

“I know the history of this great club and the passion of the fans, and I am absolutely determined to develop a team capable of delivering the success they deserve.

“It will be difficult to leave Ajax after these incredible years, and I can assure our fans of my complete commitment and focus on bringing this season to a successful conclusion before I move to Manchester United.”

According to Sky News, Ten Hag’s compensation is £1.7m. It is also reported that Manchester United’s good relationship with former player Edwin van der Sar, who is now Ajax’s chief executive, played a role in the negotiations.

Other candidates for the role reportedly included Julen Lopetegui and Luis Enrique. 

John Murtough, Football Director, said on the appointment: “During the past four years at Ajax, Erik has proved himself to be one of the most exciting and successful coaches in Europe, renowned for his team’s attractive, attacking football and commitment to youth.

“In our conversations with Erik leading up to this appointment, we were deeply impressed with his long-term vision for returning Manchester United to the level we want to be competing at, and his drive and determination to achieve that. 

“We wish Erik the best of luck as he focuses on achieving a successful end to the season at Ajax and look forward to welcoming him to Manchester United this summer.”

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