London-born 20-year-old has played for Portugal, but still eligible for Three Lions
New Liverpool FC defender Tiago Ilori says he would consider an offer to play for England – but has hinted he will remain loyal to Portugal.
The 20-year-old has represented his country at various youth levels and was part of their under-20s squad at the World Cup in Turkey this summer.
But Ilori was born in London and remains eligible to switch allegiance to England because he has not been capped at senior level by Portugal.
Ilori’s arrival at Anfield from Sporting Lisbon on transfer deadline day alerted Three Lions manager Roy Hodgson and under-21s boss Gareth Southgate to his English roots.
And the Football Association are said to be keen on sitting down with the young centre-half to discuss his international plans.
Ilori, who trained at Melwood with his new team-mates for the third time yesterday, would mull over any approach from England but admits it would be tough to give up on Portugal.
“I think I would like to stay loyal to Portugal as I’ve played in every age group for them,” the £7m signing said.
“But I would never close any doors and there is no decision to make yet. If I have the choice then it is not a bad choice to have.”
Ilori was born at the Royal Free Hospital in North London and lived in the capital until the age of eight when his family moved to Portugal – his mother’s homeland.
“I lived in a few places around Kentish Town,” he said.
“I was eight when we moved to Portugal. My mum is Portuguese.
“I didn’t play in any football league when I was in London but just played with my friends.
“My English family are originally from Manchester and they all moved to London.
“My Dad was born in London as well.”
Ilori is working on a return to full fitness having missed most of pre-season with a broken hand.
But with the fracture fully healed, the young defender is eager for his Liverpool debut.