Andrew Flintoff said he had to pinch himself after being named man of the series in England's epic Ashes win.
"I watched the Ashes as a kid and to be involved in it and play a major role in an England victory has been unbelievable," said Flintoff.
Flintoff watched Kevin Pietersen's 158 to seal the series and said: "We've witnessed one of the great innings.
"I can't find enough words to describe the pressure going out there and the way he played," he told BBC Sport.
"The strength of this side is that people stick their hand up at different times and today Kevin Pietersen did.
"Ashley Giles has seen us home on numerous occasions and he's done it again."
Pietersen's century sealed the Ashes and the batsman said: "It's an amazing feeling. History has been made, it's a special day.
"We knew we needed to bat for a long time and the boys stood up.
"There's been a lot of pressure on me, I've copped a bit of stick this week. Fortunately a few catches went down and I took full advantage.
"I dropped six catches this series but I'll take the 100 and drop another six if we can win a series like this."
Giles hit 59, sharing a vital stand of 108 with Pietersen, and could not believe the Ashes were secure.
"I'll never get more important runs. I'm ecstatic - there are so many emotions going through me," he said.
"I feel exhausted because I haven't slept well for a couple of months, I'm obviously overjoyed and still can't believe we've got those Ashes back.
"It was a brilliant atmosphere. To be out there near the end, I wouldn't swap it for the world."
Openers Andrew Strauss and Marcus Trescothick both said England had reaped rewards for their hard work.
"It's been seven weeks of emotional turmoil - I'm so proud to be part of this team," said Strauss.
"Everyone has contributed. We've been on the edge of our nerves, it's a great privilege to be here."
Trescothick added: "We have put in the groundwork to give us the platform, we've kicked on in the last two years and this is the reward."
Flintoff won the inaugural Compton-Miller medal after hitting 402 runs and taking 24 wickets.
He picked the second Test at Edgbaston, when he contributed crucial innings of 68 and 73 and took seven wickets, as the turning point of the series.
"We had a shocker at Lord's but we regrouped and played the cricket we know we can, with enjoyment and being positive and it came off," he added.