Dele Alli was destined to be one of England's best football players and also one of the best attacking midfielder of this generation but it never happened. During the tenure of Pochettino at Spurs, Dele Alli was spitting fire in every game. Not only for the club but for the national side too. He was just an exceptional talent. Unfortunately, he lost himself on the path of being one of the greats of this beautiful game. "At six, I was molested." In a recent interview with Gary Neville, he shared his childhood trauma and while sharing the stories, he completely broke down.
English footballer Dele Alli opened up about his struggles with mental health and rehabilitation over the course of his career. One of the most promising English players of the last few years, Dele's trajectory was slowed down due to a host of reasons. He was loaned out to Besiktas from Everton last season but had to return to England for surgery as he sustained an injury.
"Now is probably the right time to tell people. It's tough to talk about it as it's quite recent and something I've hidden for a long time and I'm scared to talk about it. It's been going on for a long time, without me realizing it, the things I was doing to numb the feelings I had. I didn't realize I was doing it for that purpose, whether it be drinking or whatever," said Alli to the interviewer, Gary Neville.
Alli went to Tottenham Hotspur in the 2015-16 season and provided some terrific performances. He twice earned the PFA Young Player of the Year award and also got a spot in the PFA Team of the Year. Dele Alli was one of the most promising players in the Premier League during Spurs' most successful era in modern days under Mauricio Pochettino. Unfortunately, he failed to make those impacts under Spurs' new coaches such as Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte.
As a result, he was benched and the public scrutiny played a role in his mental breakdown. Sometimes the fans also have to keep calm and think about the players as they are also human beings. Alli was providing everything Spurs needed at that time but suddenly it changed completely. "There are things a lot of people do but if you abuse it and use it in the wrong way. You're not actually doing it for pleasure, you're doing it to try and chase something or hide from something. It can obviously damage you a lot," Alli said.
Dele Alli join a rehab facility to fix the issues he was having with his mental health and past traumas and especially to get his career back on track. "I was caught in a bad cycle. I was relying on things that were doing me harm," he said. "After waking up every day, going into training, smiling, showing that I was happy but inside I was definitely losing the battle and it was time for me to change it."
"I couldn't have expected it to go the way it did. Before you hear about it, it has this whole stigma around it. It's something people don't want to do, go into rehab. It definitely sounds scary. I could never have imagined how much I would get from it and how much it would help me mentally because I was in a bad place. A lot happened when I was younger that I could never understand," he said.
Not only he suffered from traumas in his footballing career, but he is also suffering from his childhood. Alli didn't have the exposure and he was scared of telling the truth in front of the world. But finally, he revealed everything as he wants to fix his career and have a happy ending. "At six, I was molested. I was sent to Africa to learn discipline. Then I was sent back. Seven, I started smoking. Eight I started dealing drugs, selling drugs. An older person told me they wouldn't stop a kid. So I'd ride around with my football and then underneath I'd have the drugs."
"At 12, I was adopted. I was adopted by an amazing family. I couldn't have asked for better people to do what they've done for me. If God created people, it was them. They are amazing and have helped me a lot."
Alli thought taking retirement could fix everything but it was the only thing, he loved the most growing up. It is never easy to leave the thing one loves the most. At the age of just 24, the career of a promising football was almost on the edge of a common end. "At 24, doing the thing I love, for me that was heartbreaking. Mentally, I'm probably in the best place I've ever been," said Dele Alli before concluding the interview. His national teammates and many more football stars and of course the fans showed their support via social media. They shared their messages with a common and the most satisfactory line, "We are with you, Alli"