Dier speaks about former team-mate Dele’s interview

Eric Dier could not hold back the tears as he spoke for the first time about his former Tottenham team-mate Dele Alli’s brave interview.
Dele opened up to Gary Neville in The Overlap podcast this month about the problems in his life, ranging from being sexually abused as a child, dealing drugs as an eight-year-old to a sleeping pill addiction while a footballer.
In an emotional interview, the former Spurs star admitted that he contemplated retiring from football at just 24 due to his unhappiness in the game.
Dele confirmed that is in a good place now after spending some time in a rehab facility to help with his mental health. The 27-year-old, Everton midfielder has been widely praised following the interview with the hope that many others will be inspired to discuss their mental health and seek help with any hurdles they face in life.
Dele namechecked his close friend Dier and Harry Kane among those who tried to guide him at Tottenham.
Dier and Dele became something of a double act at Spurs, the former becoming an older brother of sorts to the midfielder and their heart-warming relationship remains strong today.
During Spurs’ time in Singapore this week, after painting with some underprivileged youngsters at the Children’s Wishing Well charity, Dier sat down and discussed his friend’s brave interview.
“Obviously, it was difficult to watch,” he said. “Lots of stuff, not everything, but quite a lot of it I knew already. I was with him just a week before, he was at my wedding.
“I don’t know what to say about it. I don’t want to say anything that I haven’t said to him. I wouldn’t do that. For me it was, as I said, it was difficult to watch, upsetting.
“I think my overwhelming feeling, which I said to him as well, is probably I’m upset that I didn’t do more.”
One thing that Dier was not aware of about Dele was the abuse and trauma he suffered as a child.
“No, I wasn’t aware of it. There were things that I was and wasn’t aware of,” he said. “A long time ago I went to Milton Keynes with him and he showed me around where he grew up. He showed me everything so I was aware of the outline of the picture, the frame, but not the picture itself.”
It is when Dele’s mention of Dier in his interview is spoken about that the tears began to well up and then fall down the Spurs defender’s face.
Dele had said: “I don’t think any of them really knew what I was doing so I’d hide it from them, I wouldn’t be honest with them. The likes of Eric Dier, I think he’s a great friend and you realise who your real friends are – people that don’t just say yes.
“People like Eric, Harry [Kane], Sonny [Heung-min Son] Ben [Davies]. There were a lot of players that didn’t approve of what I was doing if they knew about it and they weren’t afraid to tell me.
“Especially Harry and Eric, those two are brutally honest. When they confronted me it was never in front of other players. Sometimes they could see it in my face, it was hard to hide and they definitely weren’t pleased.”
Dier apologises as he sobs, perhaps thinking back to those chats with his younger Spurs team-mate when he tried to help him without knowing the full extent of what was going on.
After a long pause with attempts to compose himself, he said: “I don’t really like talking about it publicly because I don’t really feel like it’s my place, you know? I’m happy to say anything that I’ve spoken about with him to a certain extent.”
The tears flow again as he tries to continue.
“He’s been a great friend to me as well, you know? He just has been,” he said before another long pause is needed. “He’s just… sorry, I just need… I can’t speak.”
After another moment to compose himself he explains: “When he was in rehab, and I knew he was in rehab, I spoke to him a few times while he was there and I messaged him, because I was having my wedding…”
More tears fall at the memory before he continues: “I said to him, ‘I don’t know if you’re going to make it’ [to the wedding], because obviously I knew what he was going through. And the first thing was that he was insulted that I’d asked him if he was going to be there.
“It was like it was unimaginable that he wasn’t going to be there even though everything he was going through. That’s the type of person he is, you know? Dele has a heart of gold. He really does. I’m upset with myself and disappointed with myself that I didn’t do more.
“He’s a great friend to me as well, it’s not all one way. He’s done many things over the course of time that mean a lot to me. He’s someone that I know that I could call him right now if I needed him to be here in Singapore and he’d come. That’s the kind of friend he is.”
Football fans are all hoping Dele can now recapture the form that made him one of the most exciting young players in Europe during his early years at Tottenham and Dier is among those watching on and hoping.
“Me too. I think he’s probably in the best place he’s ever been,” he said. “Obviously that’s what everyone wants. He’s still so young. He can still do whatever he wants to do, that’s the beauty of football. It’s up to him. It really is in his hands.
“It’s always in our hands as players to control whatever we can control. Obviously the manager will make decisions and clubs will make decisions but as players all we can do is control what we can control. That’s giving ourselves the best chance to be able to play and play well.”
Seeing Dele scoring goals for fun with a smile on his face is all anyone, most of all Dier, wants to see in the season and years ahead.
(Football London – Alasdair Gold)
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