SAINTS boss Ralph Hasenhuttl admits he is thrilled with Matt Crocker’s appointment as the club’s new director of football operations.

Crocker, who has been at the FA for the last six years, won’t start in his role until early 2020.

Hasenhuttl’s aware of the work the ex-Saints academy manager has done at St Mary’s before and is looking forward to striking up a relationship with him.

The Austrian said: “I know a lot about him. I know he has worked for this club once and had a very good impact.

“He was a part of a very successful time for this football club. I think he was here for six years.

“A lot of very good players went through his time when he was looking after the academy.

“It’s important for me and for the club that oversees everything. It’s important to have one that makes a job like he has done at the FA.

“He creates a philosophy, but he doesn’t just create, he lives it.

“That’s what I expect from him and that’s why I think it’s a really good thing for the club.”

Crocker spent six years as Saints’ academy manager back in 2006, overseeing the development of players like Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Luke Shaw.

When asked if he took part in the recruitment process, Hasenhuttl added: “Absolutely.

“I think it’s a really good job from Martin [Semmens] to get him here and going forward I am very happy he is coming.”