Premier League manager Eddie Howe 'wouldn't hesitate' to sign a gay footballer

Bournemouth FC's Eddie Howe has become the first Premier League manager to go on the record to say he'd be happy to have a gay footballer on his team. In an exclusive interview in the Spring issue of Winq - available digitally and in shops today - the former Portsmouth and Bournemouth player tells Mark McAdam that he would sign an openly gay player "without hesitation", and that the sport is changing when it comes to equality and acceptance. "I would sign a gay player without hesitation if they were the right player for the club, absolutely no doubt about it," Eddie says. "The football and the footballer’s character are the things that define a career, not sexuality." "As a manager you like to try and prepare yourself for every scenario that you may face. You think about every eventuality and being prepared for anything. So I would like to think I have the right mentality for when that day comes, and it will, when one of my players walks into my office to have that conversation." For the 39-year-old, who who became the Premier League’s youngest manager when he was appointed to lead Bournemouth in 2009, that day will hopefully be sooner rather than later. "It’s only a matter of time, like everywhere else; the face of football is changing…" he says. "Football is heading in a direction of openness and acceptance and that’s the way it should be.     "The first player to come out in the Premier League era will be defining, it will be a real breakthrough moment. And I think when that happens other players will follow suit." The Spring issue of Winq is out now. Buy in print, subscribe or download. More stories: Check out Broadway star Casey Lee Ross in his pants Victoria Beckham films ‘Carpool Karaoke’ with James Corden