Everton midfielder Dele Alli has made a candid revelation about his recent six-week stay in rehab, where he sought treatment for his addiction to sleeping pills. Speaking in an interview with Gary Neville on “The Overlap,” the 27-year-old disclosed that his decision to seek help came after being informed that he needed surgery. Alli emphasized that his struggle with sleeping pill addiction is more prevalent in football than people realize. Despite the challenges of discussing his recent experience and the fear associated with opening up, Alli felt that now is the right time to share his story.
Upon returning from his loan spell in Turkey, Alli discovered the need for surgery and found himself in a challenging mental state. Recognizing the negative impact of his reliance on harmful substances, he made the personal decision to enter a modern rehab facility that specializes in addiction, mental health, and trauma. Breaking free from the cycle of addiction required an individual choice, and Alli acknowledged that he had reached a point where he needed to seek help. While there is often a stigma surrounding rehab, Alli attested to the transformative power of the experience, emphasizing the significant growth he gained from it. He acknowledged that he was in a dark place and had carried unresolved emotions stemming from his past, which hindered his progress.
In addition to his battle with addiction, Alli discussed his mental health struggles and the impact of his difficult upbringing. He revealed that at one point, he contemplated retiring at the age of 24 after being dropped by then-Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho. Alli described this as one of the most disheartening moments of his career, recounting a time when he woke up one morning in a deeply troubled state, questioning whether he could continue playing the sport he loved. The experience left him feeling profoundly hurt and burdened by thoughts of retirement at such a young age.
The midfielder also addressed Mourinho’s infamous portrayal of him as “lazy” in an Amazon documentary. While Mourinho did apologize privately to Alli for his comments after observing his dedication in training and matches, the apology was not shown in the program. Alli expressed his frustration at the selective portrayal of the situation and highlighted the discrepancy between the public perception and his actual work ethic. He acknowledged the influence of social media in distorting reality and suggested that the “lazy” label became an easy justification for subsequent decisions made by other coaches.
Throughout the interview, Alli showed a willingness to share his personal struggles and hoped that his story would resonate with others who have faced similar challenges. He emphasized the importance of understanding that appearances can be deceiving, and that behind the scenes, individuals may be battling their own demons. Alli’s openness and vulnerability shed light on the complexities of mental health and addiction, and his courage in discussing these issues may inspire others to seek help and find hope in their own journeys.