SAINTS manager Mark Hughes is pleased with how Ryan Bertrand has bounced back from his World Cup omission – and is backing him to win back his England place.

The Saints left-back won the last of his 19 England caps in the goalless draw against Brazil last November.

He started nine of Gareth Southgate’s first 14 matches as England’s head coach.

But despite the retirement of Ashley Young, one of England’s finds of the World Cup, he still finds himself behind the likes of Danny Rose, ex-Saint Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell in Southgate’s pecking order.

With Rose and Shaw unavailable, Chilwell has a big chance to stake his claim for a place in tomorrow night’s behind-closed-doors Uefa Nations League match away to Croatia and Monday’s clash against Spain in Seville.

But Hughes has been pleased with the form of his 29 year-old club captain and does not believes his England career is over.

“Ryan is just getting on with the business of working hard for us here," said Hughes.

"He was obviously disappointed missing out on the World Cup this summer because that was a big aim of his.

“But he has moved on from that very, very quickly and is not dwelling on it.

“He is still available – if selected – and if he is performing at a good level I am sure he’d like to be considered.

“At the moment it doesn’t seem like he is too close to a place in the squad – but he’ll keep on playing well here - and hopefully his performances will do the talking for him.

“I have no doubt he is still very much in frame – but Gareth at the moment seems to want to promote younger players.

“You can understand that after he had a very odd World Cup – and that’s probably the right way to go.

“But the point I’m making is if Ryan plays well then, like any other player, you’d still expect him to be in the thinking of the international manager.

“He’s not closed the door on England himself – so he just has to play well for us.

“He’s playing well. He’s having an effect.

“He’s the captain and he’s growing into that role, he’s improving and giving us good energy and leadership – both on and off the pitch.

“We are very pleased where he’s at.”