England star Dele Alli breaks down as he reveals he was sexually abused when he was six
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Dele Alli has revealed that he was sexually abused as a child, revealing the toll it's had on his mental health.
The midfielder was praised as the most exciting England stars of his generation, with many saying he was one of the best players in the world.
However, in recent years, his career has not quite gone as well as most predicted, moving from Tottenham Hotspur to Everton, before being sent out on loan to Turkey.
Fans of his couldn't understand how such a talented player had seemingly gone off the rails.
Alli said: “When I was six I was molested by mum’s friend... because my mum was an alcoholic. That happened at six.”
The England international went on: "And then I was sent to Africa to learn discipline and then I was sent back.
“At seven I started smoking and then at eight I started selling drugs.
“An older person told me they wouldn’t stop a kid on a bike so I'd ride around with my football and underneath I'd have drugs.
“At 11 I was hung off a bridge… by a guy from the next estate. A man. By 12 I was adopted but from then it was like I was adopted by an amazing family.
“I couldn’t have asked for better people to do what they done for me.
“If God created people it was them – they were amazing and have helped me a lot.
“When I was living with them it was hard for me to open up to them because I felt like it was easy for them to get rid of me.”
After returning from his loan spell in Turkey, Alli admitted that he struggled to cope, turning to sleeping pills and alcohol.
As a last ditch attempt to sort himself out, he said he checked himself into a rehab clinic.
"When I came back from Turkey, I found out I needed an operation I was in a bad place mentally and I decided to go to a modern day rehab facility for mental health," Alli said.
"They deal with addiction and trauma. I felt it was time for me.
"You can't be told to go there - you have to know and make the decision yourself or it's not going to work.
"I was caught in a bad cycle and things that were doing me harm."
Looking back at one of his lowest moments, Alli said he actually contemplated retiring when he was just 24-years-old.
"One morning I woke up and I had to go training," he recalled.
"I remember staring in the mirror and I was asking if I could retire now. At 24. Doing the thing I love. For me that was heartbreaking."
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 8am–10pm Monday to Friday, 9am–6pm weekends. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111