The Rise of Tino Anjorin

Photography: Reuben Bastienne / Styling: Sergio Pedro + Osal Studio

Faustino ‘Tino’ Anjorin may be one of the country’s top talents but he’s not burdened by the tag or by the expectancy of it all. There’s no stress or self-doubt. No strain of arrogance or entitlement either. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. He talks with a fresh energy, ambition and determination that underlines his dream of ‘breaking into the Chelsea first team and winning as many trophies as possible.’ On set he’s laid back, relaxed and engaging. A mirror image of the fluid movement and sense of tranquility that he radiates on the pitch. Such is the life of a young English talent, Tino, along with his international teammates, is more confident, composed and open than the generations that have gone before. So, what’s the secret? What’s his greatest strength?

“My drive. I strive to never stop at all costs,” he empowers. “On the pitch I am hard working, committed and will do anything to win.”

Comparisons to a number of young English academy graduates who burst onto the scene at Chelsea last year are plentiful but Tino is different. Although he has been at the club since the age of 6, he has a unique set of attributes that opens up many different avenues into the first team. His balance, vision, engine and dynamism makes him capable of dominating the heart of midfield, imposing himself in the penalty area or making an impact on either wing. His skill, strength and speed at such a young age — he isn’t 19 until November — suggest that he has the potential to become a complete modern midfielder.

It also explains why, despite playing just over 40 minutes of senior football for Chelsea last year, he was included in the long list for the 2020 Tuttosport Golden Boy award. This came in the same season as finishing as Chelsea’s development squad’s top scorer from midfield. His goalscoring exploits will not only sound familiar to the man at the helm of Chelsea, but it’s something that the manager may look to in the current campaign. So, just how important is it to have someone like Frank Lampard to work for to look up to?

“Massive,” Tino explains. “Because, obviously, he is a football legend and to have someone like that teaching me and giving me advice is amazing. Not many people are fortunate enough to have that opportunity to learn from the best.”

To focus on the moments that have inspired his rise, we sat down with Tino to track his life both on and off the pitch. As the Chelsea midfielder opens up about the individual ingredients that go into making the latest English generation so special alongside style, strengths and his ultimate five-a-side team. 

Who was your hero growing up and what impact did they have on your life growing up?

My hero growing up was my Dad [Tino’s father Sheriff was a former academy prospect at Brighton and non-League footballer] he has always been an inspiration and he constantly motivates me. He worked so hard to give me and my brothers a good upbringing so we could have the best life we possibly could.

Because he loved football so much, the first thing he did when I was born was put me in a football kit . Growing up, he used to take me to so many good games and I would just sit there mesmerised the whole time just hoping that it would be me playing one day. 

What is your biggest motivation?

To be the best footballer in the world and to win all the trophies I can. 

How would you describe Tino on the pitch?

Hard-working, committed and always wanting to win

What about off the pitch? 

Joker, laid back, spontaneous. 

When you’re a young footballer, there’s so much talk about your development as a player. But it’s just as important to develop as a person. In the last few years, what is the biggest thing you’ve learned about yourself?

I’ve really learned just how mentally resilient I am. One of my strengths is my ability to block out all the negativity or pressures and be able to concentrate on the important things. 

Having charisma on the pitch is important but your personality and vibe goes beyond just the game. How does your mentality on the pitch translate to your life off of it? 

It’s all about respect. Because, being respectful is a big part of football and a big part of life. Everyone deserves respect and to deserve to be listened to and treated the right way. Hard work is another. Being hard working is not just about doing extras on the training ground it’s about taking care of my body so I can prepare the best I can for the next game.

When you’re a young footballer, there’s so much talk about your development as a player. But it’s just as important to develop as a person. In the last few years, what is the biggest thing you’ve learned about yourself?

I’ve really learned just how mentally resilient I am. One of my strengths is my ability to block out all the negativity or pressures and be able to concentrate on the important things. 

Having charisma on the pitch is important but your personality and vibe goes beyond just the game. How does your mentality on the pitch translate to your life off of it? 

It’s all about respect. Because, being respectful is a big part of football and a big part of life. Everyone deserves respect and to deserve to be listened to and treated the right way. Hard work is another. Being hard working is not just about doing extras on the training ground it’s about taking care of my body so I can prepare the best I can for the next game.

One big part of your life away from the game is your style. How would you describe your style?

Ah. Edgy, colourful, cool

When did you properly zone in on your style and make a conscious effort to be different?

When I was 16 I started to take more of an interest in what I wore. I never want to be in the same clothes as the people around me; I always want to be different.

What is the most underrated item in your wardrobe?

My neon orange puffer jacket!

How much competition goes on in the dressing room and who at Chelsea do you think comes out on top?

If your style isn’t the best, people will let you know. Trust me. The second is a silly question because of course I come out on top!

Let’s talk about the upcoming season; what’s your biggest ambition?

To break into the Chelsea first team and win everything we can. 

How important is it to have a figurehead like Frank Lampard at the top of the club? What does he offer to a midfielder of the similar goal-scoring and dynamic mould as yourself?

Massive. Because, obviously, he is a football legend and to have someone like that teaching me and giving me advice is amazing because not that many people are fortunate enough to have that opportunity to learn off the best.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned from the boss?

The biggest thing I’ve learnt from the boss is actually how hard working you have to be to become the best. If you put in consistent work you make your own luck and that can take you further. 

Let’s talk about this current and emerging English generation; the talent is incredible across every position and every age range. What ingredients do you think have gone into making this generation so special?

I can’t speak for anyone else but at Chelsea all the coaching staff from first team to under 9s are incredible. The amount of work that they invest into making young players so good and the amount of care they have for every individual at the club makes it so special. It’s a very unique environment. 

So, what would be your dream 5-a-side England team of all-time?

In goal I’d have Gordon Banks. I’d have Frank Lampard, John Barnes, Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney too. 

Finally, if you had to choose a track right now to be used as your soundtrack for the upcoming season, what would it be and why?

Hall of Fame by The Script

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