Harry Kane has hailed his former team-mate Dele Alli as “extremely brave” for opening up about his mental health and personal trauma as he backed his friend to start playing regular football again.
In an interview with Gary Neville in July, Dele revealed he was sexually abused at the age of six and was dealing drugs by the time he was just eight years old.
Kane played with Dele for both Tottenham Hotspur and England and told a press conference ahead of England’s match with Ukraine on Saturday that the interview was a shock to him.
Dele reveals he was sexually abused as a child
“I think it was extremely brave of Dele to come out and give the interview he gave,” Kane said.
“We’ve known each other for a period of time but I didn’t know the extent of what he’d been through in his life; for sure, it was eye-opening for me to hear that.
“I text him after and said how much I think what he did will help other people feel comfortable in sharing their feelings and sharing what they’ve been through.
“I caught up with Dele in the summer, before the interview; he seemed to be on a good track. I know he’s been working hard to get fit and I can’t wait to hopefully see him back out playing football again.
“I think he’s definitely in a better place now and he’s got a lot of time left in his career. I’m one person who really hopes he can get back on track and see him playing week in, week out.”
Forget what Dele might have become – his achievements are remarkable given everything he went through
Ahead of Saturday’s qualifier, Kane says he hopes the Euros feel like home next summer now he is playing for Bayern Munich.
Euro 2024 take place across Germany next June and July, with a semi-final at Bayern’s Allianz Arena.
Kane said: “The Euros are at the back of our minds, we still have to qualify first and foremost. It’s nice to play in new stadiums and get to know that and hopefully next summer it’ll have a little bit more feeling like home than what I’m used to.
“It’s felt a little bit different (coming to international duty from Bayern), I’m used to travelling around Europe now, for me I’m always excited to meet up with the boys. The only difference was I was flying back from a game on Saturday rather than driving back from somewhere.
“It’s been great to see everyone again and I look forward to hopefully another good year leading up to the Euros next summer.”
(Photo: Getty Images)