Dele Alli: Everton midfielder targets England squad for World Cup - BBC Sport

Dele Alli: Everton midfielder targets England squad for World Cup

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Dele AlliImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,

Dele's last appearance was on 26 February 2023

Dele Alli says he "can see the light at the end of the tunnel" and is targeting playing at the 2026 World Cup with England.

The Everton midfielder, 28, last played in February 2023 and has since been out with hip and groin injuries.

He spoke in an emotional interview in July about his childhood, mental health issues and time spent in rehab.

"I have a reminder on my phone every single day at 11 o'clock - World Cup 2026," Dele told Sky Sports.

"People will be like 'he hasn't played in a year' but that's my aim. I know where my level is."

Dele is contracted to Everton, who he joined in February 2022, until the end of the season. He said he hopes to return to full training by the end of the current campaign.

His last appearance came on loan at Besiktas last year - a move cut short because of a hip injury.

In his interview with Gary Neville, he spoke about spending six weeks in rehab because of a sleeping pill addiction and mental health issues.

He also said he was sexually abused when he was six years old.

"When I did that interview, I said it was the best I felt at that time coming out of rehab," Dele said.

"It has been tough and it's a journey I am on. I am enjoying it.

"When I did it, I said if it helped one person I would be happy, and that is all I wanted from it. The support and reaction I got was overwhelming - I am definitely proud of it."

Dele was part of the England squad that reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup but won the last of his 37 caps in 2019.

After closing on a return to action at the end of 2023 he sustained a groin injury which has kept him sidelined.

"It has just been an injury issue - one that I am hopefully getting to the end of. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel," he said.

"I have had to be patient and it has been a long journey with the injury, a lot of ups and downs.

"It has helped me grow even more as a person. To have those opportunities to grow myself, the pain of the injury is something I can channel when I am back."

Image source, BBC Sport
Image source, BBC Sport

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