16 July 2020 08:48

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Ralph Hasenhuttl: Southampton boss fears best players could leave this summer

Ralph Hasenhuttl is staying tight lipped about his summer transfer plans Danny Ings has scored 19 goals in the Premier League so far this season 'Bertrand has to wait for contract extension' Ryan Bertrand is out of contract at the end of the 2020/21 season Ralph Hasenhuttl has backed Ryan Bertrand to win an England recall. Left-back Bertrand has been a standout performer for Southampton this season and succeeded where most have failed since the season resumed by nullifying Manchester United's rising starlet Mason Greenwood in Southampton's draw Old Trafford draw on Monday. Bertrand last played for England in 2017 but Hasenhuttl said: 'We know that he is a fantastic left back and he still has targets to be an international for England because he is playing fantastic at the moment. Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has backed Ryan Bertrand to play for England again Former Chelsea defender Bertrand hasn't featured on the international stage since 2017 Bertrand has a year left on his contract and interest from Leicester. However Southampton plan to offer him a new deal with Bertrand the next senior star in line for a new deal after Shane Long's future was secured during lockdown.

The left-back has played well for the Saints this season and helped secure a 2-2 draw at United Hasenhuttl said: 'I'm always scared that players playing well in our team are being interesting for others. Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl refused to discuss the possibility of a swap deal between Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and loanee Kyle Walker-Peters. Hojberg, who has been stripped of the captaincy after refusing a new deal at St Mary's, is reported to be keen on a move to Tottenham and Walker-Peters, who is on loan from the north London club, could be used as a makeweight in the deal. The young right-back has impressed in his temporary stint at Saints and Jose Mourinho has said he would allow the player to leave if that is what he wanted. But, with three games in six days to prepare for, the first a home match with Brighton on Thursday, Hasenhuttl is not focusing on transfer rumours.

"I don't concentrate so much on the transfer market to be honest," he said. "I know we have some targets but it is such a busy time, I have to focus on getting a performance from my team and the opponents we are facing. "It costs a lot of energy at the moment to find the right game plan. You can imagine if you are playing teams like (Manchester) City and United you need a perfect game otherwise you have no chance. "So there is a lot of preparing, especially with two or three days between games.

"My scouts are giving me some information in the players that are of interest to us, we are busy in the background." The Austrian did concede his recruitment department were looking at centre-backs this summer, with the transfer window due to open on July 27. But again he declined to comment on speculation linking Southampton with Real Valladolid defender Mohammed Salisu. "It's right that we are looking in this position, but I don't want to discuss or agree to these rumours," Hasenhuttl said. "We always have some players in our minds and centre-back position is a position we want to do something. "I think we have a little longer transfer window maybe to face, it's important we don't make as many signings but the signings we will make they must be perfect.

We try to take this advantage and get the right players at the right moment." It is a quick turnaround for Saints following their impressive late 2-2 draw at Manchester United on Monday night. There are no fresh injuries, with Jan Valery (muscle), Moussa Djenepo (calf) and Sofiane Boufal (thigh) still missing. "No injury news, no new ones," the boss added. "A few tired players now, this is the bigger issue. It is a very short time to recover, we had a very intense game, we ran much more than the opponent.

It was a very intense game." Ryan Bertrand and Danny Ings have impressed this season. Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl admits he is scared his best players could be picked off this summer. Saints have had a strong second half of the season and are comfortably in mid-table with three games of the campaign left to play. Midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has already said he will not sign a new contract, Ryan Bertrand has impressed at left-back while Danny Ings has scored 19 goals and may interest some of the top clubs. Hasenhuttl says it is part of the fabric of being Southampton manager. "I'm always scared that players playing well in our team are interesting for others," he said. We develop players who are young but we also develop players who are a little bit older. "If they then outperform and another club comes and says, 'He's interesting for us', then we cannot stop them going. "The players know what they have with us. If a big club comes and wants to sign them, even if he has a (long) contract we have no chance to compete with them. "But we are not that far I think and we know we have to at first finish the season and then we will have a look at what happens." Bertrand has been one of Southampton's top performers this season, but has entered the final year of his contract. Hasenhuttl says the 30-year-old has to be patient for a new deal. "I think we know that he is a fantastic left-back and he still has targets to be an international for England because he is playing fantastic at the moment," he said. "He absolutely has the potential to do this and we will help him come to this position. "As always, we have to see that he is not the youngest one and know that the older players have to wait to extend their contracts like we did with Longy (Shane Long). "It must be a good mixture in the team and a little bit of experience is absolutely necessary, especially when you have an experienced player who is open-minded and willing to learn. "I think Ryan showed that he is the perfect example of how quickly you can adapt to this and learn new things. "He has enough space for new things and I am not surprised that an older player can learn this. "I think he likes the way we play; being brave and showing we can compete with the big teams. "This is why he is maybe the most consistent defender we have this season." Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl will check on weary legs ahead of Thursday's clash with Brighton. Saints are preparing for the second of three games in six days, the first of which saw them draw 2-2 at Manchester United on Monday. There are no fresh injuries, but Yan Valery (muscle), Moussa Djenepo (calf) and Sofiane Boufal (thigh) look set to remain absent.