Victor Wanyama expressed his surprise and delight at landing the President’s Choice award at the club’s Player Awards night on Wednesday evening.
The Kenyan midfielder won the accolade at the end of his second full season with Southampton having become a regular feature in the team since his move from Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic in 2013.
Saints’ Honorary President Terry Paine MBE was in attendance on the night to present Wanyama with his accolade, with the Kenyan a popular member of the squad in Paine’s country of residence, South Africa.
Over there, Paine is a presenter on SuperSport where he watches Premier League matches on from afar each week, so he’s well-versed on the players’ contributions to the Southampton cause.
On receipt of his prize, Wanyama thanked Paine for his nomination and dedicated his award to the team.
“It means a lot,” he said. “This season everyone has been fantastic and I’m really surprised that I’m here and getting this award, and to get it from Terry as well. I’m a big fan of his work.
“It’s really great for me because it’s difficult coming from Kenya into a great league, a good team like Southampton who are just fantastic. It’s the best team I could ever wish for and I’m really delighted to be here.”
Before announcing Wanyama as his winner, Paine explained why the midfielder, who has played 37 times this season scoring three goals, was a worthy successor to Jack Cork who won it last time around.
“The performances not only as a team, but individually as well which made the choice for my pick this season so, so very much more difficult this season and I think we’ve had so many outstanding candidates,” Paine said.
“But I believe the player that I’ve chosen has stamped his personality and identity on the team. His total commitment and aggression has been very much a part of the team’s success.
“I just feel that he’s had an outstanding season and I’ve mentioned his commitment and aggression – and I think these type of players are beginning to move out of the game, which I think is a great shame. You can’t put in a tackle without getting a yellow card and he’s got 11 this season! That’s why I chose Victor Wanyama.”