DEFENDER Kyle Walker-Peters is proud Saints "proved" they are a Premier League side by winning the Championship playoff final.

Russell Martin's charges made an immediate return to the top flight by beating Leeds United 1-0 at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Walker-Peters was a part of the group that got relegated last season, finishing bottom of the league, but remained on the South Coast to help Saints return to the big time.

The two-time England international played a key role at Wembley as he kept Championship player of the season Crysencio Summerville quiet for a third time.

Walker-Peters also continued to play on through a head injury after a nasty looking clash of heads with Dan James.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Walker-Peters explained his pride in helping Southampton return to the Premier League.

Daily Echo: Kyle Walker-Peters carried on playing after a clash of heads with Dan JamesKyle Walker-Peters carried on playing after a clash of heads with Dan James (Image: PA)

He said: “We were playing against a really top team, we knew how much quality their front three have.

“For me, I was up against Summerville. I knew I had to be on top of my game. 

“Our focus all week was to stop their front four because we know we have got enough quality up front.

“This man (Adam Armstrong) has one chance and he puts it away. It’s great.

“We were disappointed to be relegated in the first place. We believe that this group is a group of Premier League players. 

“You have to prove that and I think this season we have. We have had ups and downs, but we have always bounced back. 

“I think we really deserve this.”

Walker-Peters played 43 of 46 regular season games in the Championship. His 3,858 minutes were the most of any player at the club.

Manager Martin has previously explained how difficult it would have been for Saints to keep their best players if they failed to win promotion.

He named Walker-Peters as one player who would be the subject of interest from other clubs on multiple occasions.

Martin led 5,000 Saints fans in a chant of "One more year, one more year Walker-Peters" at the club's promotion party on Monday afternoon.