A BRAVE teenage footballer has told his club he is going to come out next week — and become the only current openly gay male professional player in Britain.
He has been given the full backing of teammates and officials at his Championship club.
Sources say he is “very relaxed” about his sexuality and the announcement he plans to make in a TV interview — and is keen to “break the stigma” over the issue.
They added: “The player told club officials and his manager about this a few weeks ago and his family already knew.
“The club made it very clear it was his decision and they would back what he wanted to do.
“He told his teammates, some as recently as Friday, and they offered him their backing too.
“Football dressing rooms have moved with the times and none of the players see it as a big deal.
“They are all more interested in how he plays and trains. He is a highly valued member of the team.”
Just one current male player in world football has come out as gay — 22-year-old Josh Cavallo, of Australia’s Adelaide United.
The only prominent male English footballer to have done so was Justin Fashanu, who revealed he was gay in 1990. He took his own life eight years later.
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Other stars — including ex-Aston Villa ace Thomas Hitzlsperger, 40, and former Hull City youth player Thomas Beattie, 35 — came out when their careers ended.
Last night, Amal Fashanu — the niece of the late star who runs the Justin Fashanu Foundation, fighting homophobia and racism in football — said: “This is very encouraging news and shows the positive steps that have been taken in society and in football.
“I am sure he will get a positive reaction and it may pave the way for others.”
In October The Sun told how a gay Premier League footballer has had therapy amid fears of coming out.