Ex-Liverpool and Spurs player Stewart: I was abused by coach as a child

Paul Stewart earned three caps for England. Credit: PA

Former England international Paul Stewart has said he was abused as a child by a football coach.

Stewart, now 52, claims he was sexually assaulted by a man who threatened to kill his family if he tried to speak out.

The ex-Liverpool and Spurs player waived his anonymity in an interview with the Daily Mirror.

Other young footballers were abused by the same man, according to Stewart, who began his career with Blackpool and also featured for Manchester City and Sunderland.

Stewart told the newspaper: "The mental scars led me into other problems with drink and drugs. I know now it was a grooming process. The level of abuse got worse and worse."

He added that if he was not playing well then the trainer would threaten him with violence as well as sexual abuse.

Stewart, a married father of three, said revelations by fellow footballer Andy Woodward that he was abused by coach Barry Bennell at Crewe had "brought a lot of issues up for me".

Andy Woodward has spoken out about his abuse. Credit: PA

Stewart said: "I wanted people to know how difficult it was to come forward. It stirred up a lot of my past which I thought I had buried."

The claims by the former FA Cup winner with Spurs follow Woodward's interview with the Guardian in which he said he suffered at the hands of Bennell between the ages of 11 and 15.

Six people have since come forward to say they wish to speak to detectives, said Cheshire Police.