Former England international Gareth Southgate believes footballers are ready to accept gay players in the dressing room.

Southgate, who is the Football Association’s Head of Elite Development, was speaking after Manchester United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard urged gay players to come out of the closet because “gay people need a hero”.

According to the BBC, in response, Southgate said of gay players: “I’m sure there might be some reaction from crowds, but within dressing rooms I think it would be accepted.”

The former Middlesbrough manager added: “It will take someone who is brave enough to be open and honest.”

Last month, speaking to PinkNews.co.uk, Anton Hysen, the world’s only professional openly gay footballer said reasons to do with sponsorship explained the lack of out top division stars.

In September, chair of the Management Committee of the Professional Footballers’ Association Clarke Carlisle said UK gay players were “frightened” to go public about their sexuality due to the pressure of the media and from fans.

The only English footballer to come out to date is Justin Fashanu who committed suicide in 1998.