Tino Livramento admits he had to leave Chelsea for the sake of his career.
The 18-year-old right-back has played for Southampton since his £ 5million summer transfer from the Blues.
He played his first competitive game at Stamford Bridge in the Saints’ 3-1 loss on Saturday, winning the penalty converted by James Ward-Prowse.
Livramento is now with England U21 ahead of the Euro 2023 qualifier in Slovenia and knows leaving his childhood club was the right decision.
He said: “I feel like if I stayed there or if I did other things, then [playing Premier League football] wouldn’t have arrived as quickly as it does today. I wouldn’t say I have any regrets but it would have been good [to have played for Chelsea].
“I had to think about what was best for me. As a youngster, I always wanted to play first team football as soon as possible.
“It was a tough decision for everyone involved. They agreed it was better for me too and they always took care of me.
“I was at Chelsea for so long and grew up as a fan and never played at Stamford Bridge in a competitive game. Saturday was a little weird but I just enjoyed playing a little more. against Chelsea and the people I trained against.
“I had a subscription there for three years and my dad and brother still go – my brother is still a Chelsea fan.
“You watch games there and going through the academy I played a few youth games on the pitch but nothing compares to a full Premier League game. It was just a little weird of be on the other side.
“I will never have a hard time saying how they treated me growing up and made me the player I am today. It is probably the best academy in the world or anyone. would like to go and develop. “
Livramento is part of a talented group of England right-backs, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Reece James, Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker competing at the top level for a place in the senior squad.
“They complement each other so well, they’re all so good at what they do individually that it’s so hard to pick one to start each game,” added Livramento.
“They all have different qualities and it’s inspiring to admire them, especially someone like Reece who was at Chelsea and played really well, has played their games now, made the leap to the seniors and didn’t not looked back. “