Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has praised Southampton FC boss Russell Martin’s leadership in an interview this morning.

Mr Sunak, who was born in Southampton, complimented Martin’s leadership in managing the Saints team.

It comes as the PM is set to visit Hampshire today. He said he was visiting somewhere 'a bit closer to where I grew up' after a day in Sussex.

Asked about Saints' unbeaten run Mr Sunak, who described himself as a “lifelong Saints fan" said: “I feel very good about it, Russell Martin is doing an incredible job.

"The squad is superb and they’re playing brilliant football, what’s not to like? We have all experienced the ups and downs of being Saints fans, it’s really nice to see not just winning but also just playing the most wonderful football.

"As a squad they just seem to be enjoying being with each other and Russell has done something very special with all of them. Fingers crossed we will have a great season."

When asked about any tips on getting the best seats at St Mary's, he added: "My family do have season tickets but I obviously don’t get to use mine very often but now when I go I have to take advice from police so I tend to sit with the directors in that bit of the stand but thankfully my family season tickets are near there."

He described watching the Saints play as his "number one love" adding: "It’s nice to be back to see some of the old players I grew up watching."

He answered questions from listeners ahead of his campaign trip to Hampshire, addressing topics such as future tax cuts, the shoplifting epidemic and the latest surprising inflation rate at four per cent.

He was asked why the Government insists on cutting taxes rather than using it to address the strikes in the NHS.

He said: "It was important for me to be able to cut people’s taxes because the cost of living has been the dominant issue during my time as PM."

He said after becoming PM last year he invested "record sums" of money into the NHS and blamed strikes for rising waiting lists.

He added: "The good news is what we saw at the end of last year when there were no strikes, we got the waiting lists down by over 150,000.

"When there aren’t strikes, because the NHS has these resources, it can make a real dent in the waiting list"

He was also asked about the pressures of public services including housing and said his Rwanda scheme is at the heart of it.

The controversial bill saw two of his MPs and Conservative deputy chairmen Lee Anderson, and Brendan Clarke-Smith resign to vote for changes to toughen up the bill.

Speaking on BBC Radio Solent, Mr Sunak said: “When people come here illegally undermines the sense of fairness in which our country is based.”

He added that his “plan is working” and it is why he is “determined to see legislation through and up and running.”