Dele Alli Interview: Everton midfielder reveals his heartbreaking reality

Dele Alli Interview: Everton midfielder reveals his heartbreaking reality
29th July 2022; Goodison Park, Liverpool, England; Pre-season football friendly, Everton FC versus Dynamo Kiev; Ali of Everton applauds the fans after the full time whistle - Photo by Icon sport

  • Dele Alli reveals he was sexually abused as a child and forced to deal drugs when he was just eight-year-old.
  • The England midfielder has been to rehab since leaving Besiktas to combat a sleeping pill addiction but is determined to return to Everton this season.
  • Alli also opened up about his relationship with Chelsea boss, Mauricio Pochettino, Jose Mourinho and current boss, Sean Dyche.

In an interview with Gary Neville, Dele Alli has bared all about his life growing up and the reasons for his struggles in recent times. The 27-year-old midfielder had the world at his feet just a couple of years as a key player in both the England and Tottenham Hotspur squad. Unfortunately, things have descended rapidly for the playmaker over the past three years and has faced severe criticism from fans and pundits in England.

Alli has long been accused of simply having a bad attitude and not caring about the game he is so good at. In this interview with Gary Neville, which was released earlier today, Alli opened up about his struggles which go a long way to explaining why he has found things so difficult recently.

Childhood trauma

The most harrowing and impactful revelations to come from the interview related to what Dele had to go through as a child. Speaking about a series of incidents that plagued his childhood, and that have since stayed with him ever since, the midfielder told Neville:

“At six, I was molested by my mum’s friend, who was at the house a lot. My mum was an alcoholic, and that happened at six. I was then sent to Africa to learn discipline, and then I was sent back. At seven, I started smoking, and at eight I started dealing drugs.

At twelve, I was adopted – and from then, it was like – I was adopted by an amazing family.If God created people, it was them.”

Addiction and rehab

Considering what he went through as a child, it’s incredible that he has made it as a professional footballer but understandably everything caught up with him recently. As a result, he turned to sleeping tablets to help him through the thought times and he developed an addiction. Talking about his addiction, and his decision to seek help for it, Dele said:

“I got addicted to sleeping tablets, it’s a problem not only I have. It’s going around more than people realise in football. I was in a bad cycle. I was relying on things that were doing me harm. I was waking up every day, winning the fight going into training every day smiling – willing to show I was happy.

“So I went to rehab for six weeks. Going there, I learned to let go of some bad feelings I was holding which were slowing me down. Going into rehab is scary but I could never have imagined how much I would get from it.”

Managerial relationships

On a more positive note, the midfielder spoke glowingly about his relationship with Mauricio Pochettino who turned Dele into the star he became at Tottenham. He also touched on how an apology he received from Jose Mourinho for calling him “lazy” and the conversations he’s been having with Sean Dyche. He said:

“Mauricio Pochettino was the best manager and I couldn’t have asked for a better manager at the time. It wasn’t like a footballer and a manager relationship. It was deeper than that, I felt. He was just so understanding of the decisions I was making, he cared about me as a person before the football.

“Me and Dyche have had some good conversations, not so much about football at this point because obviously I’m still injured, but about where I’m at. I’d like to say a big thanks to him as well for being so understanding. We had a good conversation and he was supportive.”

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