Brave Dele Alli is an inspiration - opening up on addiction struggles & childhood trauma will help pave the way for others to get the help they need

Dele Alli splitThe Overlap/Getty

It was a haunting watch yet utterly gripping at the same time. Dele Alli bore his soul to Gary Neville, revealing harrowing stories from his childhood which have left him scarred forever. Despite going on to become one of the best players in the world, a star for England and one of the top performers in the best Tottenham side in the modern era, the trauma of being sexually abused as a child never left him. And when he struggled for form and lost his place in the Spurs team, his past ate away at him in the form of alcohol abuse and sleeping pill addiction.

Dele's interview on The Overlap with Neville was a rare occasion of an elite footballer opening up on his troubled past, admitting he had sought solace in substance abuse. Dele looked understandably shaken at certain moments in the interview, and Neville supported him throughout. But it also seemed to be a cathartic experience. As Dele explained everything he has been through in the last few years and the pain that has dogged him underneath the surface since he was a child, he was slowly lifting a weight off his shoulders.

And at the same time that he was opening up, he was encouraging others who have experienced trauma to seek help, to try and find a way out of the darkness.

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“Trauma is trauma and your body registers it in the same way no matter what it is. We all think we are so unique that no one has the same problems as us but speak to a few people and you realise you have a lot more in common than you probably think,” Dele said.