Tottenham’s Dele: A real-life superhero

Tottenham’s Dele: A real-life superhero

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The bravery, vulnerability, and raw, heart-wrenching honesty Dele showed during his interview with Gary Neville will inspire and positively impact countless lives worldwide.

His on-field brilliance during the golden years endeared Dele to Tottenham supporters in every corner of the globe. He was England’s best young midfielder, not only in a generation but arguably ever.

At just 20 years old, Dele put world football on notice.

He easily outperformed England’s most lauded midfielders, including David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard, and Steven Gerrard.

About six years ago, Dele transcended expectations and paved a path to eclipse the aforementioned quartet as England’s best-ever midfielder.

The then-21-year-old phenom scored 18 goals, adding nine assists, in 37 appearances in the 2016-17 campaign. His 16th league goal of the season, in a 4-0 thrashing of Watford, marked his 40th goal and assist in 63 top-flight appearances.

That equalled the total contribution of Lampard (15), Gerrard (13), and Beckham (12) at the same early stage of their careers.

But that was merely the tip of the Dele iceberg.

And while incredibly impressive, those statistics are meaningless compared to his emotionally jarring story and the awe-inspiring words he shared on The Overlap.

To accomplish what he did despite the cruel and tortuous period he endured during his formative years is nothing short of miraculous.

Dele is a real-life hero, the perfect embodiment of a role model.

He went through the living definition of hell and came out the other side, prevailing against the stiffest odds.

It’s no wonder his life, both on and off the pitch, unravelled so rapidly. He was dealing with something so enveloping, something most of us can never imagine, never understand.

And yet he soldiered on, doing whatever it took to numb the pain.

On Overwatch, he said soldiering on was the only thing he knew. Showing vulnerability, he said, felt like a weakness.

He came to realize that showing vulnerability is a sign of strength. Among other poignant, inspirational, candid advice, Dele’s realization and perception of vulnerability will resonate with countless people from all walks of life.

It is the truth everyone knows deep down inside, but few put into practice. Not because people don’t want to, because they don’t know how.

Vulnerability, like change, is hard. It’s uncomfortable and distressing, one of innumerable reasons Dele’s interview should be placed front and centre, plastered on every mainstream publication’s cover page.

I don’t mean the scandalous tabloids, which regularly distort, stretch and bend the truth to an unrecognizable state, but those with impartial authority.

Dele will always be adored and venerated in Tottenham for his on-the-pitch accomplishments. He is a generational talent and, during his tenure under Mauricio Pochettino’s mentorship, England’s most promising young talent, superior to every other generational star who preceded him.

And while I was gobsmacked by what he could do on the pitch, nothing, aside from the courage it took to stand up to his demons and take this monumental step, will ever compare to the heroism and selflessness he showed for speaking out.

In the interview, Dele said: “I’m proud of who I am today.”

I hope I speak for everyone in saying, we all our Dele.

And regardless of what happens on the pitch in the coming seasons, you’ll forever be a real-life superhero.

  • Published on 07/14/2023 at 06:40 AM
  • Last updated at 07/14/2023 at 06:40 AM

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