STUART Armstrong is available for selection at St Mary’s this Saturday but manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has ruled it "a pity that he went immediately to the international team.”

The 29-year-old Scotsman is yet to play any part for the Austrian boss so far this season, after he only made the bench at Everton and has been ruled out with what was initially a minor calf injury.

That injury developed and saw Armstrong miss seven consecutive games for Saints, before he was recalled to the matchday squad and sat out the 3-1 Chelsea defeat from the bench.

Scotland manager Steve Clarke called him up to his side for the international break in September anyway, when he withdrew, and again in October despite not playing any minutes.

It meant that Hasenhuttl didn’t have the two-week long chance to work with him in what would be a critical moment for his recovery and getting back up to match fitness.

Speaking ahead of the Leeds United contest, the Saints manager said: “Yeah he is now very long out, he has been very long unavailable.

“He needs to come back now and to step up, he is for me for sure an important player. He was last season one of our best tens we had on the pitch, also an important player on the six and finally he scored a few important goals for us also.

“He is definitely a player who is important for our game and I am happy when he can work with us consistently.”

But he added: “It was a pity he went immediately to the international team so he couldn’t work with us the last two weeks, but yeah we have now more options in the ten.

“This is also good for me and hopefully we find the right balance for the games.”