Tino on how he was given the platform to thrive
As someone who has become a regular starter in the Premier League this season at the age of just 18, it is clear Tino Livramento plays with a confidence and assuredness which belies his years. But for Southampton’s rampaging full-back, he is wise enough to recognise it all stems from the relaxed playing environment created by his parents and coaches as a youngster.
Livramento first developed a love for football playing in the garden with his brother before going on to join his local club Roundshaw close to his home in Wallington, Sutton.
Starting out as a centre back, it didn’t take long for his manager to move him further up the pitch, as his pace and finishing ability saw the youngster finish his first season as top scorer.
By the age of seven Chelsea had recognised his talent and he remained with the club he supports until this summer, when he decided to turn down the option of a new contract in favour of a multi-million pound move to Southampton.
Like millions of children across the country, Livramento grew up harbouring hopes of becoming a professional footballer but despite the huge rewards which were at stake, his parents and grassroots coaches produced an environment which enabled the youngster to thrive and helped develop a confidence which has remained with him as he flies down the right flank in the Premier League.
Livramento said: “It is about enjoying the game before you take it too seriously. A lot of parents put pressure on their children to become the next big thing but for me it was so relaxed.
“My parents would take me to every game in the early hours of the morning but they would take me to watch me and enjoy it, which really helped me and they understood I play my best football when I am happy and I am confident.
“Even at this age, I think it is because of those early stages which is why that is the case.”
Livramento’s dad is from Portugal so it comes as no surprise to hear his sporting hero growing up was Cristiano Ronaldo.
But when he wasn’t wearing a Portugal shirt with Ronaldo or Luis Figo on the back, Livramento was in his England and Chelsea shirts, which were emblazoned with the name of a certain Frank Lampard, the man who called him up to the Blues’ first team training whilst still only 17.
Livramento has become a familiar face at England’s St. George’s Park over the years, having represented the Three Lions’ youth teams throughout the age groups and even captained the MU18s when they faced Brazil in 2019.
“Pulling on the England shirt means everything [to me],” he said.
“When you are young, you dream of doing things like this as a footballer and right now it (playing for England) is the biggest stage I can go to. I am proud that I am representing my family and myself.”
Smith Rowe sharpshooting, Jones' pinpoint free-kick and more
Inside England Under-21 training following the appointment of Lee Carsley, as the squad build towards Kosovo on Tuesday night
He continued: “Captaining England was probably the proudest moment for me so far. It tops everything.
“Just walking out there and not only playing but being captain brings out a different side to me that I don’t usually bring when I am not captain. I was talking more and it was a good experience because I think it has brought a different side to my game that maybe I was missing.
“It was the proudest moment for me so far.”
Livramento’s talent has been clear to see for some time and last season the versatile player, who can play on either flank and in defence or attack, was named Chelsea’s Academy Player of the Year.
The Blues were desperate to keep the 18-year-old but after conversations with his dad earlier this year, it was decided he was ready to push for Premier League football and that may have to be away from Stamford Bridge.
The teenager has played every minute of Southampton’s Premier League campaign so far and his impressive performances helped secure a first call-up to the England MU21s, who are now managed by his old MU20 coach Lee Carsley.
“To get to that next step with England was quite a surprise but it was a massive thing for me and my family,” Livramento said.
“It has obviously been a crazy couple of months but even though it is a big thing to be playing in the Premier League, at Southampton it has been easy to settle in because of everyone there and the coaches and playing staff.
“Getting the England call-up was even more of a massive thing for me. So I am trying to take everything in my stride and keep moving forward.”
— tino livramento (@tino_livramento) August 2, 2021
“Every single year, I have a routine of setting goals and there is only so much you can do at youth level,” Livramento explained.
“Me and my dad sat down in May and we spoke and thought the next step would be for me to push into a Premier League team and we felt the better route for me was to leave Chelsea.
“It wasn’t easy obviously as I have been a fan for as long as I can remember and been a player there since I was seven.
“I never thought that I would be playing straight away [at Southampton] but you have to take everything in your stride and you cannot hide when you get that opportunity. You have to take it. I hope I can keep doing that.”
Livramento is one of several young English players in recent years to take the brave step of deciding to leave the club where they spent most of their childhood in favour of a new challenge despite still being a teenager.
But the full-back was quick to highlight that there are plenty of success stories where players have utilised loan moves to secure first team football in England’s top flight.
He said: “Everyone has their own different pathways and I’m not saying what I have done would work for everyone and going on loan might be the best option for some people. But it is about knowing what is best for you and I think what I have done is specific for me and you have to look at the club, look at the goals and see if it will suit you.
“At Southampton, luckily with the manager [Ralph Hasenhuttl], the staff and the players, it has come together quite nicely.”
It wasn’t just his new club manager who Livramento was complimentary about.
He joined a number of other England MU21s players in speaking highly about Carsley, who enjoyed a hugely successful playing career at clubs like Derby County and Everton, and represented the Republic of Ireland at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, before becoming a coach.
Livramento said: “He definitely knows how to help young players. When you are younger, there can sometimes be a lot of emphasis on the attacking players but you can tell straight away that he will talk to everyone and he is going to help me not only going forward but also the defensive side of the game, which is obviously a massive thing for any England or young player who is a full-back.
“He is a nice guy and takes time out of his day to speak to everyone and he has been good to me so far.”
With Friday’s friendly against Romania cancelled, the pair’s first England MU21s match is set to be the opening 2023 UEFA Under-21 European Championship qualifier against Kosovo at MK Dons’ Stadium MK on Tuesday.
Fans will be back in attendance, with individual adult tickets just £15 and children or concessions £5, and Livramento is hoping he will be selected so he can get the Three Lions’ faithful off their feet.
The attacking full-back said: “In the Premier League, having the fans back brings a different level to the game.
“I want to excite them and take them off their seats [at Stadium MK], that is the type of player that I am so I am looking forward to having the chance to excite people.”
MK Dons season ticket holders: £7.50
Group bookings (15 or more): £7.50/£2.50 concessions
Charter Standard bookings (15 or more): Complimentary tickets