FORMER Saints star Wayne Bridge reckons Ralph Hasenhuttl will be under increased pressure if he gets his way this summer.

With the transfer window now open for business, the Austrian will be looking to add to his squad throughout the summer.

And Bridge, who came through the ranks at Saints, believes Hasenhuttl should strengthen the St Mary’s side in every department.

Daily Echo: Saints boss Ralph HasenhuttlSaints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl

“He has got to try and do something. He needs to try and get players in that he wants,” explained the former England defender.

“He has dealt with the players he has been handed, and he will probably have players in his mind that he thinks can do a better job than the people out there and make the team better.

“That is when he will be under a lot more pressure.

“When you bring your own players in, with a full pre-season and you are looking to push on, that is when there will be pressure.

“I think he is going to go everywhere. I think he will go up front, defence and midfield.

“He might have in his head where he will shore up first and where he thinks he needs to go first.

“I would go attacking first but my dad is telling me he needs to strengthen the defence first.

“I think they need a top, top class striker, but they also need to be able to keep hold of their players and not sell them because that’s an important thing as well.”

Should they able be to get the players in that Hasenhuttl wants, Bridge doesn’t see any reason why Saints can’t make a challenge for the top-10.

He added: “It depends how much money they spend because the more money he spends then the more pressure.

“I’ve had some ups and downs with Southampton where we were fighting relegation and then Glenn Hoddle came in and we were eighth.

“I’d love to see Saints in the top half and I think if he spends money and gets the players he wants, he will be expected to be in the top-half or around the middle of the table, that’s what I think.

“I’d like to see them higher, but you have to be realistic because this is a tough league.”

Having retired from football back in 2014, Bridge has become accustomed to spending his weekends with his family.

This has meant that there was a little less time to watch Saints’ trials and tribulations on the pitch this season.

Despite not getting to St Mary’s as often as he would have liked over the course of the campaign, the local lad always kept an eye out for their scores.

Daily Echo: Wayne Bridge appearing at Virgin Media's #SuperSaints pitch eventWayne Bridge appearing at Virgin Media's #SuperSaints pitch event

One thing that he noticed almost immediately from checking Saints’ results was the impact Hasenhuttl has had on the south coast side since taking the reins last December.

“I watch football and look out for the scores, but I spend time with my kids, otherwise I’d be a football pundit and go to all the games,” continued Bridge.

“I am quite hands-on with my kids so most of my weekends will either be around my kids and, if I get a day off, around my missus.

“If we are at home and they are occupied then I will flick it on and watch it. I came to the Huddersfield match and I know I should come to more down here really.

“He [Hasenhuttl] has obviously made a good impact because they stayed up, but also by the way he has got some of the players playing.

“I think Ward-Prowse has been given more game time and he has been really good, but the one who stands out for me is Nathan Redmond.

“He has been so much better since he [Hasenhuttl] turned up. I’m looking forward to seeing how they get on next year and who he is going to bring in this summer.

“He has kept them up when they were struggling and now he needs to take them to the next level by bringing some players in to get them up the table.”

After growing up at Saints and fulfilling his dream to play for his boyhood club, Bridge left to join Chelsea for £7 million plus Graeme Le Saux in July 2003.

He went on to make 142 appearances for the Stamford Bridge outfit during a five-year spell, before joining Manchester City.

Bridge spent four seasons at the Etihad, which included being shipped out on loan to West Ham, Sunderland and Brighton.

His last hurrah came at Championship club Reading when he signed a one-year deal with the Royals.

At the end of the season, the club decided not to extend his stay, prompting the left back to retire from the game.

And despite enjoying spells at two of England’s biggest teams, Bridge revealed his fondest moments came in the red and white stripes.

He added: “I was speaking to Franny [Benali] about this and I probably had my best years here.

“I always wanted to play for Southampton and my dad is a Southampton fan, so he was proud.

“It felt like a family here because I knew everyone. I knew the ticket office people, I knew the wash ladies and the chefs. 

“They became like my family because they had seen me from a young age, so when I did leave, it was really hard for me.

“I love coming back to St Mary’s.”

With football no longer occupying his life, Bridge didn’t want to lose the edge that saw him play at the highest level.

All professional footballers have the desire to challenge themselves, which is why the former Saints star turned his attention to TV.

He appeared on ITV’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2016, with the 38-year-old finishing fifth.

His next, and perhaps most extreme, challenge came through Channel 4’s SAS Who Dares Wins.

Bridge was sent to Chile last October to undertake a rigorous training course that pushes its contestants to the edge in order to see whether they have the mindset to be an elite level soldier.

As the weeks went on, the ex-footballer remained a firm favourite to be crowned victorious, despite having two dodgy knees.

Ant Middleton, who served with the Special Boat Service and is the face of the show, singled out Bridge as the winner upon completion of the course.

And with viewers only seeing small glimpses of the struggle he and his fellow contestants went through, the former Saints man was keen to point out it’s much difficult than it looks on TV.

“Everything is so much harder. Everything is so much longer,” revealed Bridge.

“The interrogation isn’t that bad, but you are stuck in stress positions for hours on end, you can hardly breathe, hardly see, listening to babies cry or snorting pigs.  Imagine being stuck in that position for hours.

“I cried under the hood for about two hours just to get myself through it. 

“You will see a two-minute clip of a run we have just done and then see us hanging from a ladder, but it took us four hours to get there.

“You don’t see us not sleeping or getting beasted every day. You are put in uncomfortable situations and it’s freezing as well.

“It’s a great experience, though. I would recommend anyone to go and do it if they got the chance because you do learn so much from it.”

With that challenge conquered, it didn’t take long for Bridge to give himself another target.

He has signed up to race in the Marathon des Sables, which is a 156-mile race through the Sahara Desert.

Inspired by his time with the former soldiers on the SAS show, Bridge is running in the race for Walking With The Wounded.

“I got back from the SAS thing and wanted to push myself and test myself again.

“It was for a great charity, so it was a no brainer for me because I’ve always wanted to do it.

“It’s 156 miles across the Sahara Desert, which is split into a few days, but I know one of the days is a bit of a groundhog as it’s nearly two marathons.

“You’ve got to carry your own food. You get water, but you are only allowed to drink a certain amount otherwise you get penalties.

“My knees play up when I play football, so I am going to keep an eye on them and have a realistic target of where I actually want to finish.”

Wayne Bridge was appearing at the latest Virgin Media #SuperSaints event which saw fans play at St Mary’s Stadium. For more information on the campaign, visit