Former Tottenham captain Gary Mabbutt has revealed that a rat ate quite a lot of his foot while he was on holiday in South Africa this summer.
The 57-year-old was staying at the Kruger National Park while visiting his daughter, who works at the safari park in the north-east of the country.
Mabbutt has little feeling left in his feet and toes as a result of his lifelong struggle with type 1 diabetes – the disease that almost resulted in him having his leg amputated following a bout of peripheral arterial disease back in 2013.
Recounting the precise nature of the rodent attack, the ex-centre-half told BBC Radio 5 Live:
All the opponents that I’ve played against and I finally get taken out by a rat!
I’ve gone to sleep and during the night a rat has come into the bedroom, climbed into the bed and has decided to chew on my foot.
It’s made quite a big hole in my toe, going down to the bone, and ate underneath my foot.
It bit my daughter’s thumb first in the other bedroom, and then she came into me and said ‘Dad, something’s bitten me’. Being in Africa, you think of snakes and scorpions.
Unfortunately the rat had had a nice meal and I hadn’t been able to feel it.
Good grief. Just… urgh. Mabbut also added that he was forced to fly back to the UK, whereafter he spent a week in hospital.
Well renowned as a thoroughly good egg, Mabbutt was diagnosed with diabetes as a teenager and duly told that he wouldn’t be able to play football professionally. He then went on to make over 600 appearances for Spurs and win 16 England caps over the course of a long and successful career.
Here’s wishing him well in his recovery.