Making your England debut is the pinnacle for any young footballer, right?
Nothing could possibly beat that first game under Wembley’s famous arch with the eyes and expectations of 55million people on you.
Declan Rice has three caps for the Three Lions but this week’s games against Bulgaria and Kosovo might be even more special than his debut.
Why? Because Mason Mount, his oldest and best friend, may be playing in the same midfield as him.
The duo met at as a pair of eight year olds at Chelsea’s academy 12 years ago and have been tied at the hip since.
Rice was released by the Blues when he was just 14 and it looked as though the pair’s dreams of playing senior football together were fading.
West Ham made the move for Rice while Mount was kept on the books at Chelsea.
Despite the London clubs’ passionate rivalry, the two midfielders were still two peas in a pod throughout their adolescence as Mount recently told Goal, “He was one of my best mates at Chelsea, but we have always kept in contact. We keep in contact now and speak to each other almost every day.”
Over the years both of the midfielders captained various youth sides and were both seen as some of their club’s most promising talents.
But while Chelsea, as they so often do, loaned Mount to Derby last season, Rice became one of West Ham’s main men and was arguably the biggest breakthrough player in the Premier League last season.
Surely proud of his mate’s achievements, Mount also had something of a revelation last season under Frank Lampard at Derby.
Mount scored 11 and assisted six in all competitions as The Rams fell short of promotion in the play-off final.
The pair’s friendship was broadcast across the internet over the summer as Mount and Rice were holidaying in Dubai.
They took a boat out for the day and while Rice was taking a little siesta, the Chelsea man scared the daylights out of Rice and was kind enough to post the video online.
True friendship right there!
Rice’s breakthrough season earned him a call up to the England squad after he changed allegiances, having played for all of Ireland’s youth teams and making three appearances for the senior side.
While it feels like the 19/20 season is Mount’s time to make a name for himself at Chelsea as the club couldn’t sign any players over the summer.
And after two goals in his first four appearances, he is one of the first name’s on Lampard’s team sheet these days.
It looked as though the pair might get the chance to finally play together last season but Mount was unused by Gareth Southgate.
At some point over the next 180 minutes of football, before the pair are separated once again, they should live out every young couple of mate’s dreams and play for England together.
As players they look like a perfect balance in midfield, Rice is dominating and very strong defensively while Mount is a crafty forward-thinking player.
With there being no issue in chemistry, perhaps we are looking at England’s future midfield pairing?
As a pair of best friends, it wouldn’t get much better than that.