Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has praised former West Ham and German international Thomas Hitzlsperger for announcing that he’s gay.
In a message to Hitzlsperger’s Twitter account, the Liberal Democrat leader said he had “huge respect” for the recently retired premiership player.
Huge respect to @ThomasHitzl for his courage today. His bravery will help break down barriers in sport for the next generation.
— Nick Clegg (@nick_clegg) January 8, 2014
He added: “I’ve never been ashamed of the way I am”.
There are currently no known openly gay footballers in the English and Scottish professional leagues.
In his tweet of support for Hitzlsperger, Joey Barton said he hoped that one day the situation would change.
Thomas Hitzlsperger has shown a lot of courage today. Sad times when people have to wait till they retire from their chosen profession…
— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) January 8, 2014