Jake Daniels is good enough to be a professional footballer.

Ninety seven percent of academy players fail to make an appearance at elite clubs and only one in ten go on to make an appearance in the Football League.

You have to be good to make it these days; you have to be wired mentally and physically to get to the top.

Jake Daniels has been described as someone who “naturally scores goals”. He’s hit 30 of them in all competitions this season and after ripping the Chelsea defence apart in an FA Youth cup game,

Blackpool first team manager Neil Critchley snapped him up on professional forms and gave him his debut in the championship .He’s good.

Try earning a professional contract with the odds I’ve mentioned above and having to deal while deciding whether to utter the three words”I am gay”.

Jake Daniels as a footballer he can take care of but Jake Daniels the person is something else.

The Sky Sports News interview last week was well meant by the channel that have shown a massive shift in rhetoric since they lost Murdoch and gained Comcast.

The pushing of the ladies game and sympathy for BLM last year might have felt a little contrived but could you see the Keys and Gray ever getting involved in this sort of thing?

The pressure Daniels must have been under in the build up and during that interview must have been immense and in one fell swoop, Daniels stopped fighting on two massive fronts.

He can concentrate on football now after grabbing the narrative with both hands and telling the world. This is me and if you don’t like it, tough.  The reaction from most has been fantastic.

Daniels, in 2022, shouldn’t have to do this and this is what gets up my nose. He may see himself as a trailblazer, he might not, he might have just been sick of hiding but if you were LGBTQ

and you were a 17 year old doing your apprenticeship or in further education, you wouldn’t have to stand on a table in the middle of your dinner break and say that you were gay.

Football is so, so behind the times and although I’m happy for the lad , it hit home to me that football’s inability to be inclusive has forced a young player (remember what you were doing at 17?) to go on a national TV station and do an interview about his sexuality.

Not quite right is it?

The games’ stains of generations gone by are slowly being found out. Victims of sexual abuse have been lied to and cases were covered up for years, racism which ruined the game for a generation of BAME players and supporters is thankfully now considered to be a place for people who are pieces of shit, really. Homophobia? It’s got a long way to go. Ex Palace defender Damien Delaney said recently that the players can noticeably hear homophobia at grounds and described it as “brutal”. Brighton, who had this chucked at them for years, had a fan banned for homophobia.

When the last player came out in 1990, Thatcher made it so that homosexuality couldn’t be talked about in schools and colleges. Football was ruthless.

Justin Fashanu played briefly for Newcastle in the early nineties. He made few appearances but came on as sub at Peterborough in a league cup tie on a low point of a night when the away players dressing room got burgled and the amount of wolf whistling was like at the end of a One Direction gig, the only good thing it probably drowned out the homophobic abuse.

Fashanu was serenaded at Airdrieonians with the chant “He’s black, he’s gay, he plays for air-drie” by his own fans. As if he needed reminding at this point. That was tame compared to some.

Fashanu died in 1998 after taking his own life. If Jake Daniels was looking for historic backing, it was thin on the ground.

Graeme Le Saux was mercilessly taunted on the terraces. His crime? He read the Guardian and liked Radiohead.

So with all this information around Daniels’ head it’s no wonder his interview is being hailed as a turning point for young kids who are juggling trying to make it in the game and struggling (or maybe not) with their sexuality.

What I don’t want to happen (but I fear it will) is that Daniels’ career is, at least in the short term, defined by this. There’s one thing being a flag bearer but he’s 17 year old!

Thomas Hitzlsperger was 31 when he came out. Daniels needs support and quick and what he doesn’t need is him to have to be “gay footballer Jake Daniels” every time he runs onto terra firma.

The thing that makes me most prickly about this is that in 2022 that it’s caused such a stir. It might seem like a way out nirvana for some, but the real battle for players like Daniels will be when it doesn’t matter anymore.

I remember a quote from a Jamaican politician who said that murders didn’t shock anymore. There was so many in the country that they were on page 19 of the paper.

The shock had worn off and turned into apathy.

That came into my thoughts when the BBC led the ten o clock news with this story. As long as it’s sensationalised, the harder it’s going to be for young kids or older players to come out.

Not only does it make Daniels’ decision more laudable it shames a few and I like that.

The media and PR Svengalis were,  for years, covering up that players were gay and it with advice like that is it any wonder that it’s been a barren few years.

One big PR man from years gone by (now a convicted sex offender, no less) likened being gay to committing a crime. Ironic.

The Prime minister who came out in support of Daniels has a long record of homophobic comments and although no one is interested in what that clown has got to say anyway,

The hypocrisy is sulphuric my friends.

The S*n ? Where do I start?

The quotes that Daniels said in his interview that he had “drip fed” the news to his closest friends and it had got around the changing room says to me that dressing rooms may be harsh places,

Like many workplaces. As a person who works in a male dominated environment it got me thinking, how would my work mates react and it’s hard to picture, in all honesty,

So why would dressing rooms be any different. There’s always one isn’t there? and that appears to be Idrissa Gueye after he went as far as to refuse to play to avoid wearing a LGBTQ rights rainbow.

Crystal Palace player Cheikh Kouyate put a picture on Instagram of his international team mate and said Gueye   “is a real man”. What? A 32 year old millionaire who has a problem with gay people,

Or a 17 year old who has made the decision of his life? No contest.

To be fair these have been isolated cases and the media have been itching for a sniff of negativity after Daniels’ interview. Concentrate on the good stuff.

Back to the player and the talent he has.

That’s more important in my book. The lad should be judged on his skills in his particular field of work and those stats don’t lie either.

He has made a “historic” decision off the field, now it’s time to concentrate on it. Blackpool’s young player of the year should expect nothing else.

Scott Robson