Jake Daniels is determined to "drive change" after the teenage Blackpool forward came out as gay.

The 17-year-old posted a message via the Tangerines' website on Monday, stating that he has been inspired by the "courage" of fellow footballers Josh Cavallo and Matt Morton, as well as Olympic gold-medal winning diver Tom Daley.

Daniels has been in prolific form for Blackpool's under-19 team, scoring 30 goals this season, and he recently made his first team debut as a substitute in a Championship game against Peterborough United.

The youngster is the first current male professional footballer in Great Britain to publicly come out as gay and hopes by doing so, he will be a role model.

"Off the pitch I've been hiding the real me and who I really am," Daniels wrote. "I've known my whole life that I'm gay, and I now feel that I'm ready to come out and be myself.

"It's a step into the unknown being one of the first footballers in this country to reveal my sexuality, but I've been inspired by Josh Cavallo, Matt Morton and athletes from other sports, like Tom Daley, to have the courage and determination to drive change.

"In reaching this point, I've had some of the best support and advice from my family, my club, my agent and Stonewall, who have all been incredibly pro-active in putting my interests and welfare first.

"I have also confided in my team-mates in the youth team here at Blackpool, and they too have embraced the news and supported my decision to open up and tell people.

"I've hated lying my whole life and feeling the need to change to fit in. I want to be a role model myself by doing this.

"There are people out there in the same space as me that may not feel comfortable revealing their sexuality. I just want to tell them that you don't have to change who you are, or how you should be, just to fit in.

"You being you, and being happy, is what matters most."

A Fulham supporter has died after suffering cardiac arrest in the stands at Craven Cottage during Saturday's Championship game against Blackpool. 

The fan, named by the club as Paul Parish, received treatment from the medical staff of both clubs, while supporters provided privacy with flags. 

The match was suspended, and the players returned to the dressing rooms, later resuming to play out a 1-1 draw.

A statement on Fulham's official Twitter account published later on Saturday read: "It is with immense sadness that we inform fans of the passing of supporter, Paul Parish.

"Paul suffered a cardiac arrest and received treatment in the stand at this afternoon's match before being transferred to hospital.

"Our condolences go out to Paul's loved ones."

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