Ralph Hasenhuttl has admitted that he is yet to have a difficult conversation with Ryan Bertrand over why the defender is not being picked for games.
The former Chelsea left-back has been a key figure for the Saints since his move from the west London side to the south coast, yet this season Bertrand and has only played twice under the Austrian manager, in large part due to an ankle injury.
But despite returning to full fitness, the 30-year-old left-back is yet to break back into the starting XI, and Hasenhuttl admitted to The Southern Daily Echo that he has not had an awkward consultation with Bertrand over why is not being selected.
The former RB Leipzig manager said when asked if Bertrand had brought up the issue: “Not so far. As always after being injured when the team is successful it is not so easy to come back in the team. It is for every player the same. If somebody else is playing in the position and the team is successful they must wait for the moment to come in.
With Hasenhuttl favouring a formation that uses three central defenders and wingbacks, it seems odd to overlook Bertrand from the XI despite being the more accomplished player to play down the left-side in the current squad, with positional numbers from Transfermarkt showing that the former England international played in the role last season.
Despite consistent performances over the years and ability to play as a left-wingback, Bertrand, who has a Transfermarkt valuation of £13.5m, has seen the likes of Kevin Danso and Moussa Djenepo both play ahead of him in that position, even with the newly arrived duo being more natural in other positions on the pitch.