Former Liverpool defender Tiago Ilori has admitted that he made a mistake turning down the change to represent Nigeria in preference of a career with the Portuguese national team.
IIori who was born in London still remains eligible to play for Nigeria or England despite representing Portugal at different youth levels due to the fact that he didn’t play for the senior team in a competitive game.
Now 26 years old and making the most of re-launching himself at Sporting Lisbon after failing to make the grades at Liverpool with loan spells at Granada, Reading, Aston Villa and Reading the highlight of his time at the club before his move back to Sporting Lisbon before the start of last season.
In 2013 shortly after his move to Liverpool, IIori revealed that his sight is on making the senior squad of Portugal by progressing from the youth team to the main team but he also left the door open to a potential switch of allegiance to England.
” I think I would like to stay loyal to Portugal as I’ve played in every age group for them, Ilori told the Liverpool Echo back then.
“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. I lived in a few places around Kentish Town. I was eight when we moved to Portugal. My mum is Portuguese”.
He however ruled out Nigeria from the list of countries he will love to represent, a move that he now have regret over as he believe he would have enjoyed a better international career with Nigeria than Portugal.
” Sometimes you take decisions that look like the best for you but in the long run it isn’t what it is. I had the chance of playing for Nigeria but I was focus on on Portugal. Maybe I should have given it a shot with Nigeria because their project back then would have still have me in it till now”, he told Portuguese publication Record.