Virtually no one had John Swift on their Reading wishlist as the summer began. Few had even heard of him and those who did saw a two a penny Chelsea loanee, who'll never get close to the first-team. Evidently, that's how Swift saw himself, as he snubbed the Blues and has already emerged as a perhaps undroppable part of Jaap Stam's side for the early weeks of 2016/17.
Facing Swindon in the Royals' friendly with the Robins on July 19, the 21-year-old was handed a central midfield berth in amongst a side of new faces and academy prospects, making it hard to really gauge much about how Reading would take shape for the season ahead. However, one thing that was clear from the outset, was Swift's control and composure being a step above his League One surroundings. Time again, he'd pick up the ball and turn his man or find space with great comfort.
It's that sense of your surroundings and foresight to quickly take the ball away from your man, or towards your teammate, that is arguably on the most natural, hard-to-teach, instincts of a midfielder, and Swift has displayed that in each of his three appearances in pre-season. To latch onto a cliche, you could see what Chelsea saw in him.
So what did the Premier League giants dislike about him, enough not to offer a run in the first-team? While out on the left-wing against Wimbledon and Bournemouth, the final-third killer ball or disguised run was lacking, to an extent. Of course, we won't judge too harshly for negatives in generally positive friendly performances, but the incisive pass or movement that Reading so desperately require may not come from Swift. That said, his goal against the Cherries was a fine display of breaking into the area, and a cool-enough finish matched that.
Furthermore, Brentford fans will tell you that his mentality became a serious stumbling block in his loan to the Bees last campaign, but from a Reading perspective the jury remains out. That, and his overall best position will remain to be seen, but for now, Swift's made a better start to life in Berkshire than many expected.
Are you blown away by Swift, or is he lagging behind? Comment below.