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Dele reveals sexual abuse, addiction and struggle with mental health
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Adam Drury
Dele Alli checked himself into rehab earlier this year
Dele Alli checked himself into rehab earlier this year

Dele Alli has revealed he was sexually abused at the age of six and was dealing drugs just two years later. 

In an emotional interview with Gary Neville on The Overlap, the Everton midfielder fought back tears as he spoke about his difficult start in life before being adopted by the Hickford family. 

He also lifted the lid on how he battled a sleeping pill addiction and only came out of rehab last month as he struggled with his mental health. 

Dele, who spent last season on loan at Besiktas, said: "When I came back from Turkey, I came in and I found out that I need an operation and I was in a bad place mentally.

"I decided to go to a rehab facility for mental health. They deal with addiction, mental health and trauma. It was something I felt it was time for.

"With things like that, you can't be told to go there. You have to make the decision yourself, otherwise it's not going to work.

Dele Alli is back at Everton and looking to kick-start his career
Dele Alli is back at Everton and looking to kick-start his career

"Everton were amazing about it. They were always supportive of me 100% and I'll be grateful for them forever. 

"Whatever happens in the future, for them to be so open, honest and understanding, I couldn't have asked for anything more in that time when I was probably making the biggest decision of my life. Something I was scared to do.

"But I was happy I did it. To be honest, I couldn't have expected it to go the way it did.

"I could never have imagined how much I would get from it and how much it helped me mentally because I was in a bad place. I got out three weeks ago."

The 37-cap England international also laid bare the sickening abuse he received as a child.

He added: "At six, I was molested. Then I was sent to Africa to learn discipline and then I was sent back.


"At seven, I started smoking. At 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 underneath I'd have the drugs. 

"At eleven, I was hung off a bridge by a guy from the next estate. A man. 

"Twelve, I was adopted. 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.”

When his Tottenham career began to nosedive under Jose Mourinho, Dele contemplated hanging up his boots.

He said: "One morning I woke up. I had to go to training, this is when he'd [Mourinho] stopped playing me. 

"I remember just looking in the mirror. It sounds dramatic but I was literally just staring in the mirror and I was asking if I could retire now at 24."

The MK Dons academy graduate also revealed how Mourinho apologised for calling him "f***ing lazy", footage of which featured in Amazon's All or Nothing documentary featuring Spurs.

He said: "That lazy comment, people love to bring that up, that interview obviously was on Amazon. He called me lazy — that was the day after recovery day.

"A week later, he apologised to me for calling me lazy because he'd seen me actually train and play."


Premier LeagueSuper LigTottenham HotspurBesiktasEvertonDele Alli
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