SKIPPER James Ward-Prowse feels Saints have "got our identity back" after registering their best start to a season for six years.

Saints were slow out of the blocks this campaign with three straight defeats in league and cup, but have not lost in the four matches since with Sunday's win over league leaders Everton lifting Ralph Hasenhuttl's men up to seventh in the Premier League table.

Ward-Prowse was among the scorers in the 2-0 success against the Toffees, netting for the first time since June after latching onto a neat pass from Danny Ings.

"It was nice for Ingsy to give me one! He's obviously scored a lot of goals, so for him to lay one on for me was nice," Ward-Prowse told the Daily Echo.

"But I think it’s the demand that the manager is having for us to be more aggressive to get in the box and I made sure I could give myself a chance to score."

It had been close to a year since Ward-Prowse last netted from open play, before firing past Jordan Pickford against Everton at St Mary's.

Asked if that was a side of his game he is looking to improve on, the captain said: "We’ve spoken a little bit about having that part of our game as midfielders.

"But equally it’s finding that balance of getting forward but also being aware of the counter-attack and especially the way that we play to sustain those attacks.

"It’s finding that balance and to get forward and to get one at the weekend was good. Hopefully it will be the first of many now."

After Ward-Prowse had lashed in on Sunday, he proceeded to celebrate with a shadow golf swing.

"It was almost like a double reason really," the midfielder explained.

"My little boy is crazy into golf so I said to him the morning before that I’d do that, and also I was supposed to play golf with Ingsy the next day.

"He actually ended up not playing with me because he had other plans. So the celebration wasn’t really for him in the end!"

Asked how good his golf game is, Ward-Prowse said: "It’s not too bad, obviously the weather has killed it a little bit now.

"But I’m a big golf fan, I want to try and play as much as I can but equally keep focussing on the football and make sure that’s my priority."

Quizzed on which of his fellow squad members lead the way on the course, the England ace revealed: "I think Al (McCarthy) is up there. Stuart Armstrong, who I ended up playing with the other day, has got a bit about him.

"The worst? I’m not really sure. Ingsy’s only started out, so I won’t say if he’s good or bad, I’ll say he’s starting out."

Back on the pitch and Saints have made an impressive start to the campaign.

As well as beating Everton, Hasenhuttl's charges have also taken points on the road at Burnley and Chelsea to take their overall tally to 10 from six games, their best start to a top-flight campaign since 2014, ahead of clashes against Aston Villa and Newcastle.

Asked if the mood around the club feels different to previous years, Ward-Prowse, who joined Saints at the age of eight, said: "Yeah I think it does. I feel like we’ve got our identity back.

"I feel like we’re all on the same page, we all know where we’re heading as a team and everybody is used to the way that we’re working now.

"We’ve got two really good games coming up now to try to take some points before the international break and try to solidify a really good start to the season."

Discussing Sunday's impressive win over leaders Everton, the 25-year-old added: "For us approaching the game we knew it was a nice game for us. For a team to come to St Mary’s unbeaten, I think the manager was very keen to make a point and to make a statement.

"I think it was a really well controlled performance, a professional one that gave us great quality going forward, a clean sheet and the way that we managed the game especially was pleasing for us."