Tino Livramento revealed he uses Chelsea defender Reece James as inspiration for his own personal development.
As quoted by the Evening Standard, Livramento identified James as the shining example he aspires to replicate.
Had the teenager not joined Southampton over the summer, his trajectory would be going in almost exactly the same direction as the current Blues defender.
He and James both grow up and flourished at Cobham, with the latter just a few steps ahead in terms of age.
This meant the 21-year-old was further up the food chain when Frank Lampard took over and therefore more likely to break into the first team.
Livramento was surely not far behind, especially after being named the Academy Player of the Season for 2020/21.
However, the full-back decided his pathway into senior football was in fact being blocked by the very man he looked up to.
With James and Cesar Azpilicueta the primary right-back/ wing-backs at Chelsea, any player trying to jostle their way would have struggled.
Reaching Reece’s heights
In the end, Livramento’s decision to sign for the Saints has been a blessed one.
His domestic performances persuaded Lee Carsley to call him up for the most recent England Under-21 squad.
A significant step towards Gareth Southgate’s senior Three Lions, but one with plenty of healthy opposition in the way.
“The quality at right-back that England have at the moment is just ridiculous,” admitted Livramento.
“You’ve got to enjoy competition and when you get given any opportunity you’ve got to take it.
“(James) would be a nice path to follow!
“He is a fantastic player and I always look up to people like him and look at their games and see where I can improve mine and every time I watch him it looks like he keeps improving as well.”
In an alternate universe, Livramento might have replaced his idol in the latest England camp.
James was forced to drop out of the World Cup qualifying group due to an injury sustained on Chelsea duty.
Instead, Southgate opted to recall forgotten man Ben Chilwell.
Livramento will therefore probably have to wait a little longer for his moment under the Wembley arch.
Ahead of him in the right-back rankings (in no particular order) stand Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Tripper and James.
The likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Max Aarons are also in contention.