Tony Adams says suffering ‘mental breakdown’ led to Strictly stint six years ago

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worms England soccer player Tony Adams says he took on the Strictly Come Dancing challenge after suffering a “mental breakdown” six years ago and nearly dying of a heart problem.

The 55-year-old captain Arsenal and England during his professional career, won 66 caps for his country and appeared at four major tournaments.

As a result of his experiences with alcoholism and drug addiction, he later founded Sporting opportunitya charity to help athletes with mental and addiction problems.

Ahead of the series launch on Friday, Adams recalled how close to death prompted him to join the “foolish” BBC One show.

He said: “I’ve been asked a few times. I had a nervous breakdown when I was 49 and worked too hard in China and I just have time now.

“I don’t work too much, my schedule is pretty empty for the next three months, so I thought, yes, go for it.

“After my heart surgery – I almost died when I was 49 – my main artery was 99% closed and the stress of life.

“I’m a born worrier, my mom was a worrier, so I decided to slow down and put myself on a crazy show.”

Adams said the medical staff for the program gave him a “thorough examination” and described the production as “another level”.

He added: “My physio was pretty damning as I also have a new metal knee, she went ‘no knee slides’.

“It was ‘can’t do this, can’t do that’ – she kept saying, ‘You’re not very good, are you?’. I said ‘I’m 55 now’.”

Adams was sentenced to four months in prison for drink driving in 1990 and said experience would help him deal with critical feedback about his dancing.

He joked, “I’m going to outdo all of you because when I got out of jail they threw bottles at me and carrots were thrown at me so I made it up.”

Strictly Come Dancing will launch on BBC One and BBC iPlayer at 7pm on Friday 23 September.

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