England’s Lucy Bronze has revealed she was offered the chance to play for Portugal at the age of 16.
The 25-year-old right-back, who has featured in both of England’s Euro 2017 victories so far, has a Portuguese father and was approached by a member of the Portugal set-up as a teenager.
“I was asked to play for them on Facebook,” said Bronze.
“A woman called Monica Jorge, who’s now the head of women’s football in Portugal, got in touch.
“She must have watched an England youth game I was playing in and heard it mentioned that I was half-Portuguese.
“She got in touch with my mum and dad on Facebook and basically said: ‘Obviously it’s a long shot as Lucy’s playing for England’s junior teams, but if there’s ever a chance she might want to play for Portugal we’d more than welcome her into the squad and develop her’.”
Bronze helped England win the European Under-19 Championship in 2009, but was unable to break into the senior squad under former coach Hope Powell.
The Manchester City Women defender admits she had grown frustrated at the lack of opportunity and was close to switching allegiances before her senior debut in 2013.
“I was about 16 at the time and I didn’t break into the England senior team until I was 21. Before then it hadn’t looked on the horizon.
“In the end I only broke into the squad for the 2013 Euros because there were a lot of unfortunate injuries and it felt like I’d just been chucked in. (Then England boss) Hope Powell said: ‘We’ve got a few players injured, you’re the next one in’. So I didn’t really feel like I was properly in the squad.
“It got close to the point where I was thinking: ‘I just want to play international football and I’m just as much Portuguese as I’m English’.
“It wouldn’t have felt like a disservice to England. But then the manager changed, (interim head coach) Brent Hills played me and Mark’s played me.”
The Lionesses face Portugal in their third and final Group D game at Euro 2017 in Tilburg on Thursday, needing just one point to progress as group winners following victories over Scotland and Spain.Euro Soccer Bonus
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