RALPH Hasenhuttl hailed the professionalism of midfielder Oriol Romeu, after the midfielder penned a new two-and-a-half year contract extension.

The Spaniard, 29, is now set to stay at Saints until the summer of 2023.

Romeu, who has been in blistering form for Saints this season, had entered the final season of his previous deal but has now put pen-to-paper to remain at St Mary's.

“I have not seen many players who are as professional as Oriol in my time as a manager," said Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl.

“He gives his absolute commitment in everything that he does, whether it is in training or in a match, and this is a great example to set.

“Since I have been here, he has played some fantastic games for us, and the work he does in the number six position is very important – closing the space, putting pressure on his opponents, winning the ball back.

“Even if he does not play he still supports the team 100 per cent at all times, and he is always pushing everyone around him. These are the sorts of players you want to have in your squad.”

Former Barcelona man Romeu joined Saints from Chelsea for £5million in 2015 and has made 198 appearances for the club, scoring six goals.