Out British actor Russell Tovey said this week that he hopes a football player will come out gay in the next few years.

Tovey plays a closeted football player in The Pass, which had its world premiere this week at BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival.

In the film, Tovey reprises the role of Jason, which he first portrayed on the West End stage in 2014.

“I hope it happens within the next few years,” Tovey told the Evening Standard before the film's premiere. “It just takes one person to be brave enough to do it.”

Earlier this month, the niece of Justin Fashanu, who became the UK's first openly gay professional football player in 1990 and took his own life eight years later, said that she knew of at least seven closeted football players in the Premier League.

“They are going to be elevated to some level beyond what they are doing in sport,” Tovey added. “And if you are the first person to do that, then it is a terrifying prospect because of the attention that it is going to get.”

“Football crowds are so tribal, it's gladiatorial, and they seize on any weakness their opponents show and sadly, in football, being gay is still seen as a weakness.”