Mauricio Pochettino, manager of Chelsea, said that watching Dele Alli’s interview with Gary Neville was “too painful” for him to endure.
Dele opened up in an emotional interview with Gary Neville on The Overlap, confessing that he had been abused as a child and that he had just entered rehab to address an addiction to sleeping pills. Having worked with the 27-year-old at Spurs, where he was signed from MK Dons, Pochettino helped Dele win the PFA Young Player of the Year title. He says that he “loves” his former charge and was unable to watch the entire interview before setting up a meeting with him.
Pochettino said in a statement to ESPN: “Of course, it was really tough for me to see him. I didn’t finish the interview because it was so painful. He knows how we [Pochettino and his coaching staff] love him, how important he is for us as a person. Like a player, he was amazing but like a person he has a big, big heart. And of course, we are in contact. After the USA tour I hope to see him in London, to meet him and give him a big hug.
“Always, it is tough when you love a person but they show in an interview like this, it is really, really painful. But he is a strong, unbelievable guy and for sure he will become stronger.”
Pochettino has previously stated that he wants to “help” the former England player who represented his nation in the 2018 World Cup semifinals. Prior to the 2023–24 season, Dele has returned to Everton after spending the previous year on loan at Besiktas.
Dele is presently ailing, but he’ll be aiming to get better quickly so he can start working out with the Toffees in time for preseason.