JACK Stephens is looking forward to linking up with his friend Jordan Turnbull at the heart of Swindon Town’s defence.

The two Southampton defenders have played in the same youth teams for the last few years and are firm pals off the pitch. Turnbull even took to Twitter last night after the deal was confirmed to share his delight at Stephens coming back to Swindon.

Ronald Koeman had included Stephens in a couple of matchday squads since the start of the season, making the 20-year-old’s arrival at Town look unlikely. The arrivals of Toby Alderweireld and Sadio Mane, plus the retention of Morgan Schneiderlin, at St Mary’s, meant that the Southampton boss had cover at the central defensive and holding midfielder roles Stephens can play in, thus freeing the England youth international up for a return to SN1.

Stephens was happy to be back and is hoping to build on the experience he gained at the County Ground last season.

“Me and Jordan have played together for three or four years now and we’ve got a really good relationship on and off the pitch, he said.

“The last step is to play league football together and keep building on that relationship. Hopefully we can progress together.

“I spoke to Jordan after very game, most days as well I text him, he’s been speaking very highly of the football club. It’s no surprise to me really, it’s exactly what I told him before he came.

“I was at Southampton’s training ground from about 9.45pm (on Tuesday), then it started getting closer and closer. There were times I thought they might not get it over the line but I’m delighted that they did. I’m just happy to be here.”

Stephens was not aware of any other offers being made for him and seemed pretty set that if he was going to be sent out on loan from the South Coast he would be coming to Swindon, adding: “Obviously there’s been interest from the football club, at Swindon, and from my point of view. I know that Southampton been very keen to me bring me here.

“I didn’t know of any other interest, or anything like that. I know that Southampton are very happy I’m here, Swindon are happy and I’m happy, that’s the main thing.

“It was brilliant (last season). It was exactly what I needed, to get out get some games and we got some good results. I’m hoping to get some even better results this season.”