Danny Ings says his red-hot scoring streak is the result of years of hard work in shaking off long-term injuries.
Ings was restricted to just 14 Premier League appearances in a four-year spell at Liverpool ravaged by knee problems.
But now Saints are the beneficiaries of the striker’s commitment to getting himself back to full fitness, having scored seven goals in his last seven games and 13 for the season before the halfway point.
“I’m enjoying my football,” he said. “Any striker will tell you that when they’re enjoying football and having fun, it brings out the best in you.
“I know there is more to give for the team, and I’m going to keep working every day to get better and better to help the team as much as I can.
“It’s taken a hell of a long time to get back to the level of fitness when I’m at my best on the ball and scoring goals, but it was well worth the two or three years of hard work and graft that a lot of people probably didn’t see.
“It was a tough time in my life, but now I’m back I’m happy, scoring goals, helping the team and giving my all every day.”
After scoring twice in the 3-1 win at Aston Villa on Saturday, Ings was keen to praise strike partner Shane Long for his relentless work rate alongside him.
“He’s been unbelievable for the team since he’s come in – the aerial battles, the hold-up play, the running in behind… he was unlucky not to score from the chance I put in,” he added.
“He means a lot to us as a team and he’s a great player to play with because he doesn’t stop right until the end.
“Teams need goals, but they also need the other side off the ball – the hard work, the graft, the effort.
“Longy and everybody have been giving that. Even in performances when we haven’t come away with three points, the lads are giving everything, and that’s come straight from the training ground.”