Thomas Hitzlsperger ended career before confessing he was gay because of the attention from media, claimed Arsenal’s French boss
Arsenal’s long-serving French boss Arsene Wenger has revealed he was saddened that former Villa ace Thomas Hitzlsperger was forced to wait until the end of his career before admitting that he was gay.
The German midfielder, who made 99 appearances for Villa between 2001-05 and won 52 caps for his country, finally came out when he hung up his boots last year.
Speaking to the Arsenal magazine, Wenger said he doubted if any other top-flight stars would follow Hitzlsperger’s lead and admit to being homosexual because of the scrutiny they would face.
He said the spotlight would discourage players from revealing their sexuality and regretted that more stars felt unable to confess to being gay.
The Arsenal boss said the German midfielder should not have had to wait until the end of his career to come out.
Wenger said: “Because of media interest, maybe no-one will come out. He (Hitzlsperger) could not come out during his career which means we still have some progress to make in our game.”
“He should not have to come out at all because it should just be considered like anything else.
“It would be good if people come out and after that nobody speaks about it anymore because they just think it is people who live their life like they want to live it.”
He told the magazine: “I think football is there to provoke moments of happiness, excitement and positive experiences in people, no matter where they come from, what colour skin they have, what religion they are or what their preferred sexuality is.
“It’s very sad that some people think that this sport should only be reserved for those who have certain characteristics.”
Hitzlsperger also played for Everton, Chesterfield and West Ham in the UK and starred for Wolfsburg and Stuttgart in Germany. He retired from football in September 2013.