SOUTHAMPTON sensation Tino Livramento regrets quitting Chelsea without playing first-team football and is open to returning.
But the £5milion right-wing back, 18, is delighted to have already played seven senior games for the Saints and made his England Under-21 debut last month.
The Londoner believes Chelsea have “probably the best academy in the world” but moved on as his priority was playing in the Premier League as “quickly as soon as possible”.
Now Livramento is one of the Prem’s hottest emerging talents as he focuses on helping Southampton turn around their poor start to the season.
He lined up at Stamford Bridge in the Saints’ 3-1 defeat to the Prem leaders last Saturday.
And one look at the Chelsea squad underlines why Livramento chose to depart over the summer.
Long-serving Cesar Azpilicueta was in the teenager’s favoured position, while 21-year-old England star Reece James is out injured.
But Blues’ boss Thomas Tuchel reportedly did all he could to persuade Livramento to stay in the last transfer window.
And the 5ft 8ins starlet, who was with Chelsea from 2009 until this summer, said “Regrets? It would have been nice to play a game but I had to think what was best for me.
JOIN SUN VEGAS: GET A FREE £10 BONUS WITH 100s OF GAMES TO PLAY AND NO DEPOSIT REQUIRED (Ts&Cs apply)
“Being young I’ve always wanted to just play first team football as soon as possible.
“I feel like if I stayed there things wouldn’t have happened as quickly as now.
“It was a hard decision for everyone involved. They agreed that it was best for me as well and they’ve always looked after me.
“I’ll never have a bad word to say about how Chelsea treated me growing up and developing me into the player I am today. It’s probably the best academy in the world that anyone would want to go to and develop.”
You have to look at what is best for you and have good people around who want what is best for you… Everything just fell into place.
And asked if he would consider moving back one day, Livramento added: “Maybe one day, but I’m just enjoying my football at the moment at Southampton.
“That’s where my head’s at right now – just trying to pick up as many points as possible and improving individually.”
“It was never going to be easy. Not being with coaches that have seen me grow from seven to 18, was never going to be easy.
“You just have to look at what is best for you and have good people around you who want what is best for you, a good agent, dad and family. Everything just fell into place.”
⚽ Read our Football news live blog for the very latest rumours, gossip and done deals