Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has compared the habit of spending excessive amounts of time playing video games to alcoholism and drug addiction.

The Austrian was speaking after an anonymous English Football League player revealed lengthy gaming sessions were threatening to ruin his career.

Hasenhuttl admitted to blocking hotel Wi-Fi during away trips in a bid to combat the potential problem and, having encountered similar issues at his former club RB Leipzig, feels footballers require protection.

"I think it's something you have to force actively against and I will do this," Hasenhuttl said at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's Premier League trip to Brighton.

"I did it in my last club, we had also problems with players, they were playing until three o'clock in the morning before a game.

"You have to be active and to help protect them because it's not a small problem because if you are honest it's the same as alcoholism or getting addicted to drugs.

"It's something you get addicted to and that means we have to protect the players. To protect them means helping them not to spend so much time there.

"We block the Wi-Fi in the hotel, for example, in the evening so they can't play any more."

Hasenhuttl feels it would be easier to tackle video-game addiction if it were regarded as an illness by the government.

He does not believe any of his Saints squad currently have serious problems with gaming.

"In my own squad, at the moment no," he said. "But you can be sure that I'm always in contact with my captain or with a few players to speak about them.

"As long as it's not officially for the government an illness, then we have to protect them in our way.

"If it would be an illness then it would be easy for the government to say the companies have to give a block after three hours, for example, that they cannot play this game any more.

"I will be active always in this direction because I have to protect them and also outside the pitch and that means for 24 hours I have to look at them and that's what I will do."