Dele Alli: Why Former Tottenham Star Distanced Himself From His Parents

Dele Alli: Why Former Tottenham Star Distanced Himself From His Parents

Isaac Darko
updated at July 13, 2023 at 2:52 PM
In this article:
FIFA World Cup logo
FIFA World Cup
  • Dele Alli's parents have revealed their despair at having no part in the footballer's life
  • He also changed details on his shirt because he felt no connection with the name 'Alli'
  • The ex-Tottenham Hotspur man has played 39 matches for England, scoring three goals

Dele Alli is once again in the headlines, following his failed loan spell at Besiktas and the uncertainty surrounding his future with Everton.

The Nigerian-born midfielder joined the Toffees in January 2022 on a free transfer from Tottenham Hotspur, moving to the Turkish top flight on loan later that year.

He scored his first goal for Besiktas in September 2022 but fell out of favour with new coach, Senol Gunes, and by February this year, was not featuring for the Super Lig side.

Dele Alli, England, Everton, Nigeria, Super Eagles, 2022 World Cup
England international Dele Alli joined Everton in January 2022. Credit: @talksports
Source: Twitter

The 39-time England international has not been part of the Three Lions squad since 2019 due to his dip in form and he has since returned to Everton for assessment.

Off the pitch, things are not any easier for the footballer. His troubled family life was dredged up again in 2022 when his parents revealed their despair at having no part in Alli's life.

Alli's troubled early family life

Alli was born in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, in April 1996, just over a year after his parents - a Yoruba Nigerian named Kehinde and an English mother named Denise - first met in a nightclub.

At the time Kehinde was studying for a Masters Degree at De Montfort University.

Alli's father moved to the United States of America a week after his son's birth and he was initially brought up by his mother, who allegedly suffered from alcohol problems.

Nine-year-old Alli then moved to Nigeria with Kehinde after his parents split up. He spent two years in an international school before returning to Milton Keynes to live with Denise, where he could also focus on football.

While in England, Alli moved in with the family of one of his teammates at MK Dons. He refers to them as his 'adoptive parents' although he was never legally taken in by them.

Denise told Mirror Sports:

"When he was about 13, Dele began training at MK Dons five days a week. So, for convenience, he began staying at his best friend’s house during the week, before coming home on weekends. It was hard to let him live away from home, but we didn’t have a car and I was finding it hard to get him to training myself."
Dele Alli, Denise
Alli's mum Denise in tears after claims that she was an alcoholic. Photo by Steve Bainbridge
Source: Twitter

According to the player's mother and father, Alli gradually began to withdraw from them after signing his professional contract with MK Dons at the age of 16.

He reportedly last spoke to Denise in 2015.

"He was in great spirits and said, 'I love you mum'. I had no idea that would be the last time I would see him. It still leaves me shocked," she said.

She stated she tried talking to her son outside Tottenham’s White Hart Lane Stadium after a match in 2017 but he was apparently not interested.

"I didn’t have a ticket for the game but I went to the ground because I wanted to try and see Dele. I waited outside after the match and when Dele came out I quietly said to him, 'Dele... it’s me... your mum'.

Denise said her son did not stop beyond telling her he was busy, before driving off.

"I was in tears, it was heartbreaking."

Alli chose England over Nigeria

By that time, Alli was pursuing his international career with the Three Lions, progressing through the youth ranks and making several appearances at the under-17 and U18 levels.

In 2016, the England international changed the name on the back of his shirt, per the Sun, because he 'felt no connection' with his surname. Since then, his jersey reads 'Dele'.

At the time, Alli commented: "This is not a decision I have taken without a lot of thought and discussion with family close to me."

Between, 2015 and 2019, Alli played 39 matches for England, scoring three goals, with many still upset that he chose not to present his father's homeland.

In one of the games for the Three Lions against the Super Eagles, Alli was booed by Nigerian fans. Whenever he touched the ball during the World Cup warm-up game at Wembley Stadium, jeering would resound.

Alli considered retiring under Mourinho

Sports Brief recently reported on Alli admitting he considered retiring from professional football at only 24 during a difficult time with Tottenham under Jose Mourinho.

The midfielder was one of English football's brightest stars when he burst onto the scene and was a two-time PFA Young Player of the Year, but things soon fell apart.

Isaac Darko photo
Isaac Darko
Isaac Darko is a La Liga, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga editor at Sports Brief with a Degree in Journalism and Communications from Ghana Institute of Journalism (2010)