Arsenal and England legend Tony Adams reveals his ‘horrific’ rehab in the build-up to Euro 96 was ‘sitting in a bar’ – The Sun

FORMER Arsenal and England skipper Tony Adams has opened up on his battle with alcoholism in the build-up to Euro 1996.

The ex-centre-back captained the Three Lions to the semi-finals in the tournament, as Terry Venables' side crashed out on penalties against Germany.

Adams went into Euro 1996 on the back of a serious knee injury, with the 53-year-old claiming that football that summer was the only thing keeping him sober.

Speaking in an interview with Mark Pougatch for the first episode of ITV's Euro 96 Relived podcast, Adams stated that his rehab was sitting in a bar.

He said: "It was a horrific year for me emotionally and mentally off the pitch… I did my meniscus in the February, and because I kept getting drunk, the rehab was terrible.

"My rehab was sitting in a bar. I don't imagine Harry Kane would do that now. Thank the Lord he's getting fit and healthy again, but my rehab was sitting there drinking too much…

"Football had kept me sober down the years as well. I'd had long periods of abstinence playing football, so I kind of threw myself into the tournament, threw myself into the rehab come late April.

"But yeah, I didn't play for Arsenal at all, was going through a really difficult period personally, but clawed my way back and held onto the tournament as a saving grace."


Asked whether Venables knew about his drinking, he added: "He's take it or leave it, Terry, he's not an addict, so how can he recognise it in me that I was going through a traumatic period?

"And we're great at concealing it. I kept it all buried. I kept everything buried. But football – I focused in on that, I focused in on the tournament.

"When you're so driven, if you lose football, you ain't got nothing! I could get drunk and I could play football. I took the drinking out of it, so then I'm left with football.

"And I was like, this is all I've got. This is my life today. I need this tournament, so I completely threw myself into it."

Adams then went on to declare he can die a happy man as he spoke if his immense pride at leading his country out into a major international semi-final.

He said: "Unbelievable. What a proud man I was. And I did feel it. I felt proud. I was conscious of it. I couldn't label it.

"But I was enormously proud to be playing for my country, to be leading my country, out of the tunnel at Wembley.

"I can go to my grave a happy man. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life."

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