Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp commended Blackpool forward Jake Daniels after the 17-year-old publicly revealed he was gay earlier this week.
Speaking after the Reds defeated Southampton 2-0 on Tuesday, Klopp took time in his post-match press conference to comment on the "brave" announcement made by Daniels, who is now one of few openly gay professional football players.
Klopp said the football community would support Daniels as he continues his career.
What did Klopp say about Jake Daniels?
"Fantastic that he feels brave enough to do that," Klopp told reporters. "When I saw him talking I couldn’t believe he was 17 years old. He’s obviously very mature. The whole football community will support him with whatever we can do, I am 100 per cent sure.
"I loved how he really delivered his message. He is right in what he said. He didn’t want to hide any more. Good. That is exactly the right way to do it.
"I don’t know him but I’m really proud of him. It’s an important step. We live in 2022. That we have to make such a big thing of it is crazy, but we’re getting there.
"It’s a good start and now I hope others will follow and can do that as well. It would be absolutely outstanding.
"I’m really happy for him. He’s exactly where he wants to be. Top class."
The bigger picture
In his initial announcement, Daniels said he was taking "a step into the unknown" as he didn't know exactly how his message might be received by the broader football community.
The sport has historically struggled in accepting those from marginalised groups, including gay people, and numerous fan incidents this season such as the one targetting Chelsea loanee Billy Gilmour have demonstrated that discrimination based on orientation has not been eradicated.
But many big names in football have backed Daniels this week, with Klopp's message joining an outpouring of support from those in positions of power that can perhaps help the teenager understand the positive power of what he has done, even if an undercurrent of hate from elsewhere remains.