Tino Livramento has had a year (or 392 days) unlike anyone’s at Southampton. But now his return is checked off, it’s all about looking ahead with conviction.
His return came full circle during the final 20 minutes of Sunday’s defeat at Brighton; the same stadium where the injury occurred in April 2022.
When quizzed on this irony it’s clear the poised persona of which guided his breakthrough 2021/22 season remains.
“Everyone will look at it from the outside and think [returning to where I got injured] was another mental block,” said the 20-year-old. “But for me it’s just about coming back and playing football.
“No matter where I’m going to be, if the manager wants me to come in and play then I’m going to come in and play. It just happened to be Brighton, the first game back that I’m available for. I’m happy that I’m back and hopefully my fitness continues.”
Suffering an anterior cruciate injury at just 19-years-old during his first season of regular senior football is as cruel a blow of any.
Add into that the handful of setbacks suffered as the returned looked close, leaving Livramento with a testing spell on the sidelines to say the least.
But, again, his self-belief never wavered. Something the defender attributes to the strong backing from the club’s staff.
“It’s been very difficult [over the last 18 months]. I’ve had a few setbacks with the main injury I had. It’s not nice but when you’ve got a strong team and great physios, I can’t speak highly enough of them.
“Without them I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am now. I’m happy that I can now repay them by showing their hard work has paid off. I’m a footballer again!
“I’m as confident as I can be. I haven’t played a lot but I think you saw when I came on I had a few actions where I was mostly defending. It’s always nice to show you can do that stuff first before doing stuff on the ball.
“Hopefully I can show the fans what I have been doing before and more. So I’m looking forward to it.”