Dele Alli has revealed he was sexually abused at the age of six and selling drugs aged eight as the former England international opened up on a traumatic childhood.

In an explosive and emotional interview with Gary Neville on The Overlap podcast, Alli gave a candid account of why his career has declined in recent years.

The Everton midfielder told Neville:

“It’s not something I have spoken about that much but there were a few incidents that give you an understanding. At six I was molested by my mum’s friend who was at the house at lot. My mum was an alcoholic.

That happened at six. I was sent to Africa to learn discipline and then I was sent back. Seven, I started smoking, eight I started dealing drugs. An older person told me that they wouldn’t stop a kid on a bike, so I rode around with my football. And then underneath I’d have the drugs – that was eight.

Dele Alli, who is recovering from an injury sustained while playing for Besiktas on loan last season, said:

“When I came back from Turkey, I found out that I need an operation and I was in a bad place mentally. I decided to go to a modern-day rehab facility for mental health.

“They deal with addiction, mental health, and trauma because it was something that I felt like it was time for. I think with things like that, you can’t be told to go there. I think you have to know, and you have to make the decision yourself, otherwise, it’s not going to work.”