Amid a number of encouraging performances at the European Under-21 Championships this summer, Liverpool defender Tiago Illori is not only in talks to extend his contract at Anfield, but he’s also set to be given a shot at securing first team football with the Reds.
Spending a fruitful spell on-loan with French side Bordeaux last season and a short-term stint in Spain with La Liga stragglers Granada the year before, the promising Portuguese defender looked set for an uncertain future upon his return to Merseyside this summer, but it appears that boss Brendan Rodgers believes the 22-year old has a future in the famous red shirt — something his performances against both England and Italy backs-up.
Video courtesy of @MrBoyWunder
“We talked last week about the future of Tiago,” his father told Portuguese radio station Antena 1 in a recent interview. “They say he will have a chance and will go on the pre-season tour of Thailand,” he continued before saying that his son also has other options — though they may not be too keen on following them up. “There are other clubs interested, like Sunderland, but Sunderland is a cold city.”
With a packed defensive roster already at his disposal, it’s hard to see exactly where Rodgers might try to shoe-horn Ilori into the side. With Mamadou Sakho, Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren and veteran Kolo Toure likely to be ahead of him in the pecking order, the 22-year old could once again struggle to find time in the starting eleven, but throughout the tournament he’s shown that he has pace, power and most importantly composure at the back. Don’t be surprised if you see his name on a team-sheet sooner rather than later.