Jermaine Jenas on how he reacted to rumours he was dating Sol Campbell

Jermaine Jenas

Jermaine Jenas has been discussing attitudes to gay sportsmen, and his own experience while at Tottenham Hotspur.

Former England midfielder Jermaine Jenas is keen to see reports in The Mirror that two footballers are planning to come out as gay proven correct.

A gay footballer has not 'come out' while playing in English football since Justin Fashanu two decades ago, and Jenas has written a fascinating and insightful column for Yahoo Sports about his own experiences.

He believes it is supporters, not dressing room attitudes, which are holding players back.

Jenas recounts his own experiences, having been subject of rumours while playing for Tottenham - which he says were created by rivals fans at Arsenal, and while it did not bother him, he can understand why any player fearful of suffering abuse would be reticent to make a public declaration.

He explained: "Apparently I'd come to London because I was dating Pop Idol winner Will Young, then I was going out with Sol Campbell.

"I think a lot of it stemmed from the Tottenham/Arsenal rivalry, because before I joined Spurs there were rumours about me signing for the Gunners instead.

"I would just laugh about it, especially because when I was at Newcastle - and my wife won't thank me for saying this - I was pretty much a playboy. Although the abuse I suffered was minimal, it did give me a small dose of what life could be like as a player coming out in the Premier League."

Jenas added he is sceptical that the reports in The Mirror will be true - but he would like to see them be so, so that football can become as accepting as society.

Clearly he holds a concern from his own experiences that fans on the terraces are not ready to embrace a player coming out, but anybody willing to will not want for support from fellow professionals.

Former Arsenal star Thierry Henry, who played against Jenas, also offered an impassioned call this week that the topic should no longer be taboo in English football.

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