James Ward-Prowse wants to use the recognition from the Southampton supporters and his teammates as fuel to continue to hit new heights, having been named Saints’ Player of the Season for the second year running.
The skipper scooped the Fans’ and Players’ Player awards last night in a glittering ceremony at St Mary’s, just as he did last season.
Voting for Ward-Prowse among the Saints squad was unanimous, illustrating the high esteem the captain is held in the dressing room.
“It’s a very special night,” he reflected. “A lot of work goes into the season, you have a lot of challenges along the way, you have your ups and your downs, good results, bad results, and I think tonight’s a nice night to get a bit of recognition in that sense.
“I’m a very ambitious person and I always want to improve year on year on my targets and my goals. That was one of them – to receive that recognition was pretty special, and I’m using it to hopefully take me to the next level.
“They (the awards) are both very, very important, but both have different meanings.
“The fans are obviously right behind us and they see a small glimpse of our work during the week, but to receive the award from the players is extra special because you’re with them day in, day out.
“You go through that journey with them, the ups and the downs, and they see more of you throughout the week, so to receive that recognition from them is special and only acts as motivation to continue that standard now.”
Ward-Prowse completed a unique hat-trick by also winning the Goal of the Season accolade for his remarkable long-range free-kick against Wolves at Molineux.
“I think everybody wants to win that award – it’s a special one to score the best goal of the season,” he said. “There were some great strikes in there. Thankfully I won it, but hopefully there’s more to come.”
The England international also paid tribute to Southampton FC Women, whose league and cup double was celebrated along with a trio of individual awards on the night.
Laura Rafferty won the Fans’ Player of the Season, Lucia Kendall claimed the Players’ Player award and goalkeeper Kayla Rendell was the unusual recipient of Goal of the Season.
“It’s inspirational,” Ward-Prowse added. “To see the silverware on the stage tonight, you can see the success they’ve had and their emergence is definitely becoming more public.
“It’s great to see them having so much success. Hopefully we can follow in their footsteps in some capacity and bring some silverware ourselves.”