Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Pascal Gross was delighted to be voted the club’s Player of the Season for the 2017/18 campaign at the Awards Dinner on Thursday evening.
The German fought off competition from a host of team-mates to claim the accolade, and he spoke glowingly about what it meant to him, as well as the side as a whole.
He said, "I'm very proud to be awarded Player of the Season by the fans and it’s something I really appreciate.
“It shows that everyone is happy with me, and I'm happy to be here as well.
"We are a great team - there were some players missing out who have also had amazing seasons. We work together, we fight together on the pitch and nobody can win without the others."
Gross claimed 36% of the vote from supporters, and he was keen to highlight the impact that his family had on his career, singling out one individual for praise in particular.
“My Dad comes over and watches every game of mine – home and away. He lives in Germany and comes every week for me, for the game against Burnley next weekend he’ll leave on the Friday and then fly back home on the Sunday.
“Last week he stayed all the way through to Wednesday because of the Tottenham Hotspur game – it makes me really happy that he can watch the matches.
“My family always try to help me and make my life as easy as possible, that means that I can concentrate on my football.
“It’s a big commitment – it’s much easier for the home games. He’s never alone because either some friends or my Mum will come with him.
"He’s the one that comes every time, before the game he spends time with me as well. For away games, he goes on his own and so that is tough for him, but he does everything to see my games and support me and it’s massive for me.”
Albion’s influential midfielder arrived from German second division side FC Ingolstadt in May, making the switch to England early in the off-season - which is something he’s highlighted as being highly beneficial over the past few months.
The Seagulls’ leading assist maker revealed that his father, Stephan, had always been a big factor in his development from a young age.
“He was a big influence on me and my career and trained me for five years when I was playing junior football in Germany.
“It was before I moved to Hoffenheim, in my hometown and he’s trained a lot of people who are now professional players. One plays in Serie A and a few more in the Bundesliga – it was a Sunday league club, so he did all the training for us and developed us.
“He was a human coach as well as a football coach and taught me a lot about how to behave and conduct myself, it all comes from him and I have to be very thankful for that."
Having made his top-flight debut for Hoffenheim in the 2009/10 campaign, Gross made the switch to Ingolstadt in 2012 in search of regular game time – a decision he feels has benefited him both on and off the field.
“There have been moments when I wasn’t sure how my career would go – but that is normal. I played in the top league in Germany when I was 17 and then dropped down a division to try and play more matches.
“At that age, the most important thing was to play – when you’re not, you have to think about your future – in Germany the lower divisions don’t have as much money, so you always have to keep going and trying.
“But I always kept believing, and so did my family - all I wanted to ever do was be a footballer.
“I did my best at school but after that I concentrated on football – I was playing at a good level at a young age so it wasn’t a big risk and doing something else never crossed my mind because it’s my dream and my passion.
“I get up every morning and I do what I love and it makes me very happy.”
Fans can watch the entire Players' Awards Dinner on our official YouTube channel by clicking here.