Southampton's honorary club president Terry Paine has praised the centre-back partnership struck between Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens during the second half of the season.
The pair were thrown together following the departure of José Fonte and the injury to Virgil van Dijk, with the duo forming an impressive bond at the heart of the backline.
Yoshida particularly impressed Paine, to the point that he chose the Japan international as his the recipient of his President's Choice prize at this season's Player Awards ceremony.
"He's been here for four or five years now and has been very patient, and I think when the chance has come for him to play on a more consistent basis he's really stood up to the task and has produced some really outstanding performances," explained Saints' record appearance holder.
"I've been more than happy with the way he has been going, and with young Jack Stephens alongside him. If you'd have said at the start of the season that they were going to be your centre-backs towards the latter part of the season I don't think you would have believed it, so the pair have done particularly well, but Maya has really impressed me and long may it continue.
"And Jack coming in has been a revelation in some ways. I don't think anyone could have believed he'd have been in the first-team and playing as he has done."