Dele Alli’s Inspiring Journey: Overcoming Addictions & Childhood Struggles


Everton’s England midfielder Dele Alli said in an interview on Thursday that he had recently been released from rehab for a sleeping pill addiction, after battling the trauma of being sexually abused in his childhood.

Former England football hopeful, now 27, Dele Alli told Gary Neville on ‘The Overlap’ podcast how he found himself dealing drugs aged eight before he was adopted by a new family at age 12.

“When I was six years old, I was touched by a friend of my mother, who often came to the house. My mother was an alcoholic,” says Alli. “Then I was sent to Africa (to his father) to learn discipline, then they sent me back to England. At seven years old, I started to smoke, at eight, to sell drugs”.

“An older person told me they wouldn’t arrest a child on a bike, so I was pedaling with my soccer ball on me, and underneath I was hiding the drugs, I was eight years old,” explains the 2017 England vice-champion and 2019 Champions League finalist with Tottenham.

English international (37 caps), key element of the England team that reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, Alli then fell out of favor with Spurs before trying to bounce back to Everton and then being loaned at Besiktas last season.

“At twelve I was adopted into an amazing family, I couldn’t have asked for better people to care for me,” he continued.

Alli, who has come out in hopes of helping other victims, also warned of the dangers of sleeping pill addiction in soccer, where players are often prescribed pills before and after games.

“I developed an addiction to sleeping pills and it’s probably a problem that I’m not the only one to have, I think it’s more prevalent than people think in soccer,” he said. said, explaining that he had gone through a six-week rehab.

“Going to rehab is certainly scary, but I never could have imagined how much I would grow out of it and it would help me mentally,” he said.

“Everyone at Everton respects and applauds Dele’s courage,” the club wrote in a statement, while explaining that no further interviews regarding his recovery will be given to preserve his privacy.

His former Tottenham team-mate and England captain Harry Kane also praised his friend’s courage on Twitter: “Proud of @dele_official for speaking up and sharing his experience to try to help others”.

This article is originally published on


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