Mason Mount said he is grateful of the connection he has had with Derby County supporters throughout the 2018/19 season.
The Rams faithful fully embraced the 20-year-old following his arrival last summer on a season-long loan deal from Premier League Chelsea and quickly took him into their hearts.
And the feeling is mutual for Mount who expressed his gratitude for the club and its supporters following the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final against Aston Villa to end his loan spell after 44 appearance, eight goals and six assists.
“You join a club at the beginning of the season to give everything, to give your all,” the midfielder told RamsTV.
“I tried to do that throughout the whole season and I think I definitely had that connection with the fans.
“Once a Ram, always a Ram. It has been brilliant for me to have that connection and as soon as I came back from injury in March they were right behind me supporting me throughout the season.
“I just was to say thank you to every single one of the fans who have supported me.”
In his first season in English football, Mount has been an ever-present in Frank Lampard’s side when available for selection.
A hamstring injury kept him sidelined for just more than a month at the turn of the year and his presence was felt on his return.
In the final weeks of the season, his hat-trick in the 4-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers helped the Rams in the play-off race, which they were able to secure on the final day of the regular season.
In a squad that saw nine new arrivals last summer, Mount admitted that to predict a trip to Wembley Stadium at the start of the season would seem a long way off.
The team achieved that and although it didn’t end by achieving the ultimate goal of promotion to the Premier League, Mount said he is proud of the journey and how far the team progressed over the course of the season.
“We wanted to end it on a high, but we have had a brilliant season,” Mount said.
“To get to the final, if you had said that at the beginning of the season we would be buzzing with that. We have come a long way, it has been a tough, tough season.”
It may only be the start of many appearances for the young midfielder at Wembley Stadium, having earned his maiden call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad earlier in the campaign while impressing with the Rams.
But he explained that it was an experience that he had dreamed of.
“It was unbelievable,” he said of his Wembley experience.
“As a young boy you dream of playing in front of a full crowd at Wembley. It didn’t end our way, but it was an unbelievable experience for us young boys to come here and play in front of 90,000 fans.
“That was the goal at the beginning of the season to try and play as much as I can and to end it on this is bittersweet, but it has been a brilliant season.”