RALPH Hasenhuttl wants to build his Saints team around Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, despite the midfielder attracting plenty of interest from around Europe.

The Danish international was named as the club’s new captain by Hasenhuttl but has also served a three-match suspension following his red card against Manchester City last month.

Speaking at a fans’ forum hosted by Saints, the Austrian hailed Hojbjerg’s influence within the team.

Daily Echo:

Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl

Hasenhuttl said: “I see him as the captain for the future if he doesn’t get so many red cards.

“I missed him a lot in the last few games.

“I know that a lot of good and famous clubs in Europe have him on their list.

“We know that we are not alone in the Premier League, the big clubs are hunting for the good players.

“I think we have a few who are in the focus of these clubs.

“For example, Pierre is a player who has a lot of things that I want to have from a player in my team.

“He is one of the guys who you can build a team around. He is professional, very hard working and is one of our key players.”

Aside from his dominant displays in the heart of Saints' midfield, Hojbjerg has shown an eye for goal.

The 23-year-old netted in spectacular fashion from 30 yards out against Brighton in the 2-2 draw at St Mary's back in September.

Daily Echo:

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

And before getting himself sent off against City last month, the Dane rifled an effort into the roof of the net to get Saints back into the match, before they threw it away on the verge of half time by shipping in two goals.

Hasenhuttl puts Hojbjerg's frightening finishing power down to him having a strong foundation.

“He has good passion, a good mentality and an unbelievable finish because he has hamstrings like I’ve never seen before,” added Saints' manager.

“If he wears his short trousers, it’s unbelievable.”