WAYNE BRIDGE today played down calls for him to be picked for England insisting: "I'm not yet ready."

The Saints defender's quality display in Saturday's 0-0 draw at home to Charlton saw manager Glenn Hoddle and team-mate Dean Richards among those tipping him for full international honours.

And with new manager Sven-Goran Eriksson reportedly ready to fast-track the brightest young talent through to the senior side, Bridge could be the man to fill the void on the England left.

But the modest full-back believes he has some way to go before he can achieve his dream of representing his country.

He said: "It is very flattering to hear people talking like that but I still have a long way to go.

"I only just scraped into the under-21 squad by the skin of my teeth, so I cannot really expect to go straight into the full side.

"Of course that is my aim one day and I do feel I have the potential to go that far. But first I have to get into the under-21s which is a much more realistic target.

"To do that I need to keep playing well for Southampton and helping them get good results. Hopefully that will catch the eye of the new management."

It is precisely that kind of level-headed approach which gives Bridge a strong chance of breaking into the England set-up.

And both Richards and Hoddle believe a senior call-up may not be too far away.

Having successfully coached England to the World Cup finals, Hoddle knows what it takes to make the jump from Premiership to international football.

He said: "Wayne has a bright future and I've been scratching my head wondering why he's not been involved at under-21 level.

"He has come on in leaps and bounds this season to the extent that I would say he is ahead of Graeme Le Saux at the same age.

"I'm not worried about saying that because the lad has the right temperament and won't let it go to his head. He's not ready yet, but I would encourage the England staff to take a look because he will develop into some player."

Richards added: "It is a disgrace that Wayne just got into the under-21 squad.

"If he played for a bigger club I am sure he would be in the squad. There is a shortage of left-sided players at that level and I have not seen many better."