Bosses united in their support of Jake Daniels

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Oxford United head coach Karl Robinson, Blackpool striker Jake Daniels and Oxford City head coach Ross Jenkins. Pictures: David Fleming, Sky Sports News/ PA, Mike Allen
Oxford United head coach Karl Robinson, Blackpool striker Jake Daniels and Oxford City head coach Ross Jenkins. Pictures: David Fleming, Sky Sports News/ PA, Mike Allen

KARL Robinson says he is confident Oxford United would be a welcoming place if a gay footballer was to come out at the club.

The United head coach’s comments come after Blackpool striker Jake Daniels became the first professional footballer in the UK to reveal he was gay, in more than 30 years.

The bravery of Daniels, who is just 17, has been praised by a range of well-known faces, both in and out of the game.

Robinson supported those comments and said Daniels coming out was a ‘defining moment in sport’.

READ ALSO: Karl Robinson jets off on holiday – but pre-season work doesn’t stop

He said: “I don’t think in any walk of life you can say somebody would feel comfortable coming out with what he did, with tremendous bravery.

“How he articulated his journey was superb. Nobody knows the fights or battles people wake up with every morning and go to sleep with every night.

“That’s not for us to comment on. The one big aspect for me is I’d like my players to know this is a safe place to have that.

“You don’t want it to be bravery anymore, because it should be how we are as human beings.

“To create a culture that there is a freedom to be who you want to be, regardless of what people think you should be.

“That’s a tremendous place and this football club’s got belief in the way it does things.

“I have tremendous belief that if somebody is in the same situation they can have that conversation with anybody here and we’ll help them in any way we possibly can.

“It was such a defining moment in sport.”

Oxford Mail: Oxford United head coach Karl Robinson. Picture: David Fleming
Oxford Mail: Oxford United head coach Karl Robinson. Picture: David Fleming

Oxford United head coach Karl Robinson. Picture: David Fleming

Oxford City head coach Ross Jenkins said if one of his players came out, then they too would be supported by the club.

Jenkins also noted how Daniels scored four goals against Accrington Stanley in a youth fixture, the day after he told his mum and sister he was gay.

“I admire his bravery, I don’t know a lot of 17-year-olds that would do that. I think they’d probably bottle it up and hold it,” said Jenkins.

“I think his interview was quite good, as soon as he came out to his family he went and scored four goals.

“He said the weight had completely lifted off his shoulders.

“I have massive respect for anyone who comes out, because it’s a big thing in football and we need to get over it.”

Oxford Mail: Oxford City head coach Ross Jenkins. Picture: Mike Allen
Oxford Mail: Oxford City head coach Ross Jenkins. Picture: Mike Allen

Oxford City head coach Ross Jenkins. Picture: Mike Allen

Jenkins added he is confident there are more gay players in the game, and that Daniels would act as a role model for other footballers looking at coming out.

“Everyone’s equal, we’re all humans and whatever you decide is fully supported,” he said.

“It’s not frowned upon here, so if someone came out we’d say that’s fine – let’s carry on and play football.

“You need to respect it first of all, everyone should accept it. You need more to look at what Jake Daniels has done and say they can do that as well.

Oxford Mail: Blackpool striker Jake Daniels. Picture: Sky Sports News/PA
Oxford Mail: Blackpool striker Jake Daniels. Picture: Sky Sports News/PA

Blackpool striker Jake Daniels. Picture: Sky Sports News/PA

“It’s come on leaps and bounds, even from when I was a young pro coming through.

“There’s more players like Jake Daniels out there and he’s set a really good example.

“For a 17-year-old to do that, I have big respect.

“If a player in one of our squads came out to the squad, we’d embrace him and treat him like any other human.”

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