Watford captain Troy Deeney said he believes that every football team has at least one homosexual or bisexual player in their squad.
On Monday, the 31-year-old said: "I would go on record saying that there is probably one gay or bi person in every football team. They're there, they are 100 per cent there.
"I think people that are gay or from that community definitely are very worried about having to shoulder the responsibility of being the first. I think once the first comes out, there would be loads.
The striker was talking on the Grounded with Louis Theroux podcast. He added: "I also wonder why people finish football, rugby, whatever the sport it might be, and then go 'I am gay'. I feel like it must be a real heavy load to carry throughout all your whole sporting career."
While saying he didn’t know any gay players within the Watford team, he believes that if a teammate came out there would be some inquisitive questions but within a week “no one would care”.
Former Aston Villa and Everton midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger, who retired in 2013, spoke about being gay a year after his retirement. At the time he revealed he didn’t feel prepared to reveal his sexuality publicly while he was still playing.
Justin Fashanu remains the only professional footballer to be openly gay while still playing. In 1990, Fashanu came out towards the end of a peripatetic professional career. He officially retired in 1997 but took his own life six months later.
In the conversation with Theroux, Deeney touched upon a number of issues including the role that footballers are expected to play in society, the coronavirus pandemic and the imprisonment of his father during his childhood in Birmingham.
Deeney has been one of the players involved in the #PlayersTogether campaign. The initiative raised money for NHS Charities Together (an umbrella company for over 150 different charities).
The campaign organised the largest signed shirt raffle in history; ‘Shirts For Heroes’.