SAINTS boss Ralph Hasenhuttl expressed his support to “find a solution” and look after the next generation heading footballs - following calls for more investigation into the link between football and dementia.

The issue has been brought back into focus following the death last month of England legend Nobby Stiles.

Stiles had been living with dementia for many years - his Manchester United and England team-mate Sir Bobby Charlton has also been diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease.

Former England striker Gary Lineker has been among a group of ex-professionals who have suggested a need to reduce or ban heading in training - even at the top level.

Stiles’s son John has also backed calls to look at the amount of heading professional players do in training, while Sir Geoff Hurst also wants heading restricted in training at all levels.

And Hasenhuttl, who represented Austria at international level as well as playing up front for the likes of Austria Wien, Koln and Salzburg, revealed he tries to keep his brain active in a bid to avoid the disease.

The 53-year-old said: “I can only speak for my experience and I definitely took a lot of headers in my entire playing career.

“I was a centre forward and my biggest strength was to header.

“I know there are some brain cells dying from headers, definitely everybody knows this.

“I think to avoid dementia, I try always to work on my brain and build new brain cells if you want and new connections and this is always possible, until you stay alive so you should work on this.

“But sure, especially for the young kids, we must pay attention here and not do too much on this part.

“Even now you can see the ones that come out of the academy - they have a lack of quality with heading because they don’t do it so you must find a solution, maybe with different balls that are not so hard or so heavy.

“Maybe this is easier to build the technique and not use it all the time in the sessions. with the most powerful shots on the head or whatever.

“There are some solutions and in the end it is about protecting them.”