Under-23s captain Tom O’Connor praised the hard work of the entire squad after sealing promotion to Premier League 2 Division One with a 2-1 victory over Newcastle United at St Mary’s.
Dan N’Lundulu and Tyreke Johnson scored the goals on the night, but it was the collective effort of everyone in a red and white shirt that impressed O’Connor most.
The victory means Saints will face the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City next season, competing against the best Under-23s sides in the country; nothing short of what's deserved after such a successful campaign, the Irishman believes.
“I thought we've played well all season, so we deserve this," he began. "Results have been consistently good throughout.
“Tonight was a tight one and all the lads are buzzing to come out with the result.
“I think we deserved it over the course of the season. There were a good number of fans here to see it and it was a great feeling to lift the shield.
“We've had a great year - and it would've been a huge disappointment to end it without winning something. We're all delighted because we earned this together.
“We'll have a few weeks to reflect on what we've achieved this season and look forward to playing Division One football next year.”