Gay players would be accepted says former England international Gareth Southgate

30 November 2012 02:17

Gareth Southgate is adamant gay players would be accepted in football dressing rooms.

In a blog last week, Manchester United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard claimed homosexuals were 'in need of a hero' and the lack of role models within football are preventing more gay people from coming out.

Southgate, a former England international and recently departed FA Head of Elite Development, accepts reaction from the terraces may not be particularly pleasant, but told BBC Sport: "I'm sure there might be some reaction from crowds, but within dressing rooms I think it would be accepted."

Anton Hysen, the 21-year-old son of former Liverpool defender Glenn and a defender for Swedish lower league side Utsiktens BK, confirmed his homosexuality in an interview with a Swedish football magazine but within England it has rarely happened.

Justin Fashanu did it but he was tortured by his personal problems and eventually committed suicide in 1998, at the age of just 37.

"It will take someone who is brave enough to be open and honest," said Southgate.

"Players mix with players of different nationalities, races and religions so I don't see it being an issue in the dressing room.

"We can't control the reaction of all supporters, so unfortunately there will always be an adverse reaction to parts of society. But the honest answer is that we don't know until somebody steps forward."

Source: PA