DEFENDER Jack Stephens believes his first season as Saints captain has been a "learning curve" but insisted he has "loved every minute of it."

The 30 year old ended the season by leading his teammates up to the Wembley balcony to lift the Championship playoff trophy.

Stephens could not hide his emotions when reflecting on Southampton's promotion to the Premier League.

Stephens was named Saints skipper by Russell Martin following former captain James Ward-Prowse's move to West Ham.

He previously told the Daily Echo that he felt very nervous ahead of his first game as Saints captain, a 4-4 draw with Norwich City at St Mary's.

The Torpoint-born centre-back has grown into the role since then and has drawn heaps of praise from manager Martin.

Jack Stephens lead Saints to Championship playoff glory in his first season as captainJack Stephens lead Saints to Championship playoff glory in his first season as captain (Image: Richard Crease)

Stephens has been tasked with playing in a multitude of different roles this season, starting games at centre-back, right-back, left-back and even stepping into midfield.

Speaking to the Daily Echo, he revealed how he thinks his first season with the armband has gone.

He said: “I think it's been a massive learning curve for me. Obviously, with the leadership side, I've always tried to lead by example in training and on the pitch.

“I’ve always tried to play with my heart on my sleeve and with emotion. I'm obviously quite an emotional player as well. 

“I think for me this year was about trying to manage the emotions and trying to stay as level as possible in the dressing room and keep everyone together. 

“Obviously, it's been quite easy with that side of it this year because the team has been so together. It's a really good, honest group. 

“I think everyone can see that the effort has been there from the first game For me it's been fairly straightforward.

“I’ve loved every minute of being captain and I'm hoping it'll be for a little bit longer as well.”

Stephens made 30 appearances across all competitions in his first season as captain.