Portland Timbers defender Liam Ridgewell weighing up loan return to England

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The ex-Aston Villa, Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion man skippered Portland to MLS Cup victory on the weekend.

Writing in his column for the Daily Mail, Portland Timbers defender Liam Ridgewell has admitted that he is weighing up whether to return to England on loan during the MLS offseason.

The 31-year-old centre-back captained Portland to their first-ever MLS Cup title on Sunday with a 2-1 win over Columbus Crew SC, and after spending last winter on loan at Wigan Athletic, he now plans to hold talks with the US outfit over the coming weeks about another potential short-term spell across the Atlantic.

“Once the celebrations are over, I will be looking to keep fit,” said Ridgewell, who has over 250 Premier League appearances under his belt from spells with Midlands trio Aston Villa, Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion, respectively, between 2003 and 2014.

“A January loan to a club in England is an option. I went on loan to Wigan last season and I need to speak to Portland over the next couple of weeks. I have a year left on my contract and maybe that is something we can talk about.”

Ridgewell originally joined the Timbers as a Designated Player in June 2014 after his contract at West Brom expired and has since made 52 MLS appearances for the club, while recording three goals and two assists in the process.

The former England Under-21 international captained Portland for most of 2015 due to regular skipper Will Johnson’s fitness issues, and his reliable performances at the heart of defence alongside centre-back partner Nat Borchers proved instrumental to their MLS Cup success.

He even set the impetus for the club’s Western Conference Championship series win over No.1 seed FC Dallas by opening the scoring from a corner in the 3-1 first-leg victory at Providence Park, although a calf strain suffered in the second half of the match later forced him to sit out the reverse fixture.

Fortunately, the injury did not cost Caleb Porter’s side in the end, as they went on to secure a hard-fought 2-2 draw in Texas before their stand-in skipper returned on the weekend to lead them to their first piece of major silverware since entering MLS in 2011.

“I received dozens of text messages, my phone has been blowing up,” added Ridgewell. “All 'well done' and 'congratulations'.

“A lot of the boys from West Brom, my last club in England, got in touch; Chris Brunt, Boaz Myhill, Ben Foster. Barry Bannan, my former Aston Villa teammate, sent me a little video on SnapChat. It was really nice of everyone.

"One thing is for certain, I have kept my shirt from the match. There was no way I was swapping it. I have a few mementos from my career and that will take pride of place hung up at home."

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