Wednesday 13 December 2017

Hodgson urging Anfield new boy Ilori to play for England

England manager Roy Hodgson
England manager Roy Hodgson

Chris Bascombe

Roy Hodgson will attempt to convince Liverpool's new signing Tiago Ilori to snub Portugal and adopt English nationality.

No sooner had Ilori completed his £7m switch to Anfield from Sporting Lisbon, it emerged that the English FA has opened the door for the 20-year-old player to represent England.

Ilori was born in London before returning to the birthplace of his Portuguese mother, and although he has represented Portugal at youth level he has not won a senior cap and would be eligible to make the switch.

Whether Ilori has any interest in playing for anyone else is yet to be established but, given the worrying shortage in home-grown players emerging through the Academies into the top Premier League teams, Hodgson and the FA are taking a more proactive stance in tracing players with English roots.

Of the 198 players who started for Premier League teams last weekend, only 65 were English. It means that Hodgson is picking from a far smaller pool of top-division players than any of his counterparts in leading European countries.

Ilori was one of two defensive reinforcements arriving at Anfield on a relatively serene transfer deadline day compared to recent years. Mamadou Sakho concluded the formalities of his £15m move from Paris St-Germain and in doing so became Liverpool's most expensive purchase of the summer.

Liverpool also secured Victor Moses on a season's loan from Chelsea, although the London club blocked an attempt to insert an option to buy clause in the deal.

Should Moses excel, Liverpool are hopeful the player's wishes would ensure they'll be in prime position to make the deal permanent if they so wish next summer, anyway.

The trio of signings all immediately set their sights on helping Liverpool back into the top four, a target many consider increasingly possible following the 100pc winning start.

"I spoke to Daniel Sturridge and he wanted me to come here," Moses said. "He said I'd love it here.'' (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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