Dele Alli opens up about abuse, addiction and drug dealing in brave interview
Former Tottenham Hotspur sensation Dele Alli has opened up about his childhood.
Everton midfielder Dele Alli has lifted the lid on his traumatic childhood, in an emotional sit-down interview with Gary Neville and Sky Sports.
Alli spent last season on loan with Turkish outfit Besiktas from parent club Everton but failed to relight the flame that made him one of the Premier League’s best players in his early days with Spurs.
But the 27-year-old has finally gone on the record to tell his story; a story that contains multiple traumas and struggles from his upbringing which, he says, live on in his body to this day.
Dele Alli speaks about his traumatic childhood.
In brief, Alli explained to Neville how his upbringing with his alcoholic mother and the abuse he suffered from her friend, led him to smoking at seven, dealing drugs at eight and being dangled off a bridge at the age of eleven.
He also dug deep to mention how he recently entered rehab after forming a sleeping pill addiction to numb feelings arising from the past.
“It’s not something I have spoken about that much but there were a few incidents that give you an understanding,” Alli explained during the interview as he documented his childhood one year at a time.
“At six I was molested by my mum’s friend who was at the house at lot; my mum was an alcoholic. That happened at six.”
“At seven, I started smoking, eight I started dealing drugs.
“An older person told me that they wouldn’t stop a kid on a bike, so I rode around with my football, and then underneath I’d have the drugs, that was eight.
“Eleven, I was hung off a bridge by a guy from the next estate, a man.”
“Twelve, I was adopted – and from then, it was like – I was adopted by an amazing family like I said, I couldn’t have asked for better people to do what they’d done for me. If God created people, it was them..”
In the same interview, Alli explained how he contemplated retiring form football at the young age of 24.
He found himself out of favour under then Spurs manager Jose Mourinho and struggled to manage his emotions and his career side by side.
“Probably the saddest moment for me, was when (Jose) Mourinho was (Tottenham) manager, I think I was 24.
“I remember there was one session, like one morning I woke up and I had to go to training – this is when he’d stopped playing me – and I was in a bad place.
“I mean it sounds dramatic but I was literally staring in the mirror – and I was asking if I could retire now, at 24, doing the thing I love.
“For me, that was heart-breaking to even have had that thought at 24, to want to retire. That hurt me a lot, that was another thing that I had to carry.”