Interview

Teenage kicks: Tino Livramento

In the latest part of our series looking at the upbringing of our Academy youngsters, defender Tino Livramento talks his first pair of boots, versatility at wing-back and Match of the Day.

What’s your earliest memory of playing football?

My earliest football memory would be when me and brother just played for hours in our garden for fun. We always had our competitive times but no doubt we supported each other and helped when one of us couldn’t do what the other could.

Also I would say at my first Sunday league club, Roundshaw, which was a 5 minute drive from where I used to live in Wallington. This is where I really grew in confidence as a young boy and ultimately fell in love with football, I saw it as nothing but fun and a kick around with my mates.

Can you remember your first pair of boots?

I remember the first pair of boots I picked, a pair of black and yellow Nike vapours with the tongue that covered the laces. I wore these boots because of Cristiano Ronaldo, he’s a player that I looked to copy in every way that I could when I was a young boy. Whenever I put them on I felt like I was him. However I was reminded by my dad it doesn’t matter what boots you wear it’s what’s inside of them that really matters. I really aspire to be a role model for younger footballers like Ronaldo was for me.

Do you remember your first football kit?

I have always been a Chelsea boy and have my uncle to thank for that as he wove it into our brains that there was no better team – from that moment on I only wore Chelsea kits. The royal blue colour was perfect and I was in love with it at first sight.

Later I wore Portugal and Real Madrid kits as I wanted to replicate my idol as well as my dad wanting me to support the country his side of my family comes from. I love the Portuguese kit and still have my first one with Luis Figo on the back.

As well as Portugal I loved the England kit. The 3 lions on the shirt carries so much passion and is a real statement in football. For me to have worn an England shirt as a young boy it’s been a dream come true to wear it as an England youth player.

You play in a few different positions now but did you play in any other positions when you were younger?

As a young boy at my Sunday league team I started off as a centre-back I thoroughly enjoyed defending and every now and then got forward to try and score. It was later in my first season there when I moved further up the pitch as a striker/winger. This is where I really enjoyed my football and scored numerous goals which later helped me win top goal scorer that season. I remember my coach back then saying how I was an excellent finisher and had the pace that a winger needed. This gave me great confidence as a young boy and helped me continue to play such positive football.

I play now as a right wing-back predominantly and I get to enjoy doing both parts of the game in defending and attacking. Featuring as a right-back this season has allowed me to work more specifically on my defensive side but playing as a right winger as well has let me express myself further up the pitch which I have enjoyed as well.

Did you have any idols as a youngster?

As a young footballer I mentioned earlier I always looked up to Cristiano Ronaldo. The way he plays the game with no fear and so much confidence really inspired me - he plays the game like no one else and is a machine. To still be scoring the amount of goals that he is now is astonishing but it is a result of his work ethic and willingness to stay at the top of the game and prove that he is the best. Also for me having Portuguese blood he inspires me make my family proud.

As a Chelsea fan at that time I looked up to players such as Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard, they signify what it means to be a Chelsea player and the standards they set were world class.

What’s your earliest memory of watching football?

I really remember waking up early on a Sunday morning and hearing the iconic Match of the Day music that my dad was watching. I would run downstairs with my brother and watch what we hadn’t watched already - that was the best possible way to start the day.

As a Chelsea fan the games that I will never forget will be the Champions League semi-final in Barcelona and the final in Munich. In both of these games Chelsea were seen as the underdogs but rose to the challenge and created history for the club. The Drogba penalty will forever be in my memory, it was such an enjoyable moment for all Chelsea fans and was celebrated at our house greatly.

More recently the 2018 World Cup where England reached the semi-final. It showed how far English football has grown and the potential this country has in its home grown youth players. This was only the start for England and they will continue to develop as a footballing nation.

What one footballing memory sticks to mind?

One footballing memory that I will never forget is when I signed my first professional contract at Chelsea earlier this season, it was such a surreal moment for me and my family. It was a small reward for all the hard work that me and my family had put into this. I saw it as a thank you and an opportunity to celebrate such a big accomplishment. However there is so much more for me to do to reach the top level so I need to enjoy these moments but not take my mind off the bigger picture.

Another footballing moment that I will also never forget would be captaining my country at the start of this season. This came as a surprise to me because I didn’t see myself as a leader, however it took me out of my comfort zone and helped me to work on different aspects of my game such as communication and leadership which are all essential in order to become more complete. This was a great experience and an honour to lead the team out against opposition such as Brazil.

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