Ralph Hasenhuttl made a summer promise to Tino Livramento that he would be handed immediate game time should he sign for Southampton, amid interest from Brighton, AC Milan and RB Leipzig.
The 18-year-old has been a sensation at right-back for Saints, displacing Kyle Walker-Peters and establishing himself as the club’s first-choice full-back option in the early stages of the season, despite now being just five games into his senior career.
A graduate of the Chelsea academy, Livramento was one of the standout performers against Man City on Saturday as Southampton held the Premier League champions to an unlikely point.
But wind back the clock only a matter of weeks and Saints fans were stunned to see Livramento handed his debut away at Everton on the opening day of the season.
When asked by HampshireLive whether Hasenhuttl, who played a big part in scouting the teenager over the summer, could ever have dreamt that the £5million man would be this good so soon, the Austrian said: “This was the argument that I put to him when we were [trying to sign] him. I told him that he would immediately play once he signs for us. This, in the end, made him decide to come here.
“We already had Kyle Walker-Peters in this position and he is now over on the left side, that tells you everything as he was a really important player last season. He is now on the left and, I must say, did play a fantastic game also [at Man City], fantastic from Kyle.”
One added bonus with Livramento is his added ability to be able to play in multiple positions, including on the left of the defence and on the right of the midfield, allowing him to fight for multiple spots in the team.
For now, though, he will be staying at right-back for Saints.
“I must say that I was super happy with this guy,” a beaming Hasenhuttl continued, reflecting on Livramento’s performance at the Etihad Stadium.
“He was running out of energy at the end but he shows every week how strong he is. When you play against players like that, you have to be good one against one and he is, definitely.
“When you watch him, he is never staying there, he is always going forward and this is what I want from him.
“He is physically good, he is a good height for a full-back and he is a fantastic player.
“Keep it calm,” he said with a smile, knowing that bigger clubs could soon come calling for the teenager, with Chelsea incorporating a buy-back clause as part of the deal for him to join Southampton this summer.
“Everybody is in a really good shape at the moment and we have a good mentality as a group and results like that help us massively.
He added: “A win would have been better, sure but we will take a point as being unbeaten at that stadium is good for us.”