John Swift: Reading midfielder named EFL Young Player of the Month
There was a contract offer on the table from Chelsea - but it was time to move on.
After three loan spells away from the club he joined as a boy, John Swift decided something had to change. In six years at Chelsea, he made just one first-team appearance, replacing Eden Hazard against Cardiff City in 2014.
But now the 21-year-old has established himself in the Championship with Reading, who are fifth in the table under manager Jaap Stam.
Midfielder Swift's three goals during January not only helped the Royals strengthen their position in the play-off places but also earned him the EFL Young Player of the Month award.
"We're still up there, we're still pushing for promotion and hopefully we can stay there," said Swift, who arrived at the Madejski Stadium in the summer.
"It's a big push, the last couple of months. But I'm sure all the boys will keep doing the right things and stay up there until the end of the season.
"Personally, I'm just glad to help the team keep up there in the league and I'm buzzing to win the award."
At home with Stam
Swift, who scored on his debut against Preston North End in August, hit the ground running after signing a three-year deal with the Royals.
The England Under-21 international has excelled in the number 10 role and has given Stam another dimension in midfield. Swift has slotted comfortably into Stam's possession-based style of play and his eye for goal has seen him score on eight occasions already this campaign.
Reading finished 17th last season but, with 12 matches remaining, they are now primed for a charge to the Premier League.
It would be an unorthodox route to the top flight for Swift, with loan spells at Rotherham, Swindon and then Brentford coming prior to his permanent switch from Chelsea.
"As soon as I got here, I fitted in straightaway, all of the boys greeted me and I just got on with it really," he said.
"I have been on a few loans so it was quite easy to fit into the team. I am all settled now and just concentrating on the league.
"He [Stam] was a top-class player so he knows everything about the game and exactly what he wants from his team. He gets his point across very firmly and all of the boys really respect him."