John Swift and Devante Cole spent 58 minutes on the pitch together against Turkey on Wednesday night – and you could have been forgiven for thinking they had been playing together a lifetime.
England U19s beat Turkey 3-0 at Chester’s Swansway Stadium – with Swift and Cole instrumental from the off.
After a prolific career with the U16s, U17s and U18s – Cole marked his first appearance for the U19s with a beautifully taken goal, set up by Swift on 22 minutes.
Cole said: “I enjoyed that a lot. First game for the U19s and first goal. It’s what I want and as a striker it’s what I’m here to do.
“My football is going well at the moment. I’m scoring goals and playing lots of football – that’s all I want to do really so I just hope I can build on the past couple of weeks and keep it up."
Combining on a number of occasions with a series of neat exchanges in advanced areas, the pair caused Turkey problems throughout.
Swift, playing in an advanced floating role behind the front three of Manchester City youngster Cole, Sam Gallagher of Southampton and Norwich City’s Josh Murphy – was the outstanding performer on the night as the cultured Chelsea midfielder turned in an exceptional performance.
“I can and enjoy playing in a number of positions – we all do and we all rotate,” said Swift.
“I’ve played on the wing and in the middle before, but I do like to get into a higher position and run with the ball. So yes, it came off today and we’re delighted with the performance.”
And on their seemingly telepathic link-up play during their hour together on the pitch in Chester, Swift said they had played well throughout the age groups and was pleased they were able to carry the form with them to the next level.
“We’ve played together quite a lot throughout the age groups but this was obviously our first start together for the U19s," he added.
“I was in the No10 role and he was on the right of the front three, so it was natural that we would be linking up a lot – but it went really well and I really enjoyed the hour or so that we had together on the pitch.“
So what next for the pair?
They now head back to their clubs to complete the season, with the goal of getting back into the England team for the Elite Round of qualification for UEFA’s annual U19s European Championship – which takes place in May.
Cole added: “We just have to focus on playing well for our clubs and working hard on getting into the squad – then if we do just take it as it comes and carry on doing what we’re doing."