Benali stays for another year.

Last updated : 23 January 2002 By Christian Kelly
Southampton have secured the services of Francis Benali until June 2003. Although he hasn't featured in the side since the emergence of Wayne Bridge, Franny is a superb squad player and is at the heart of the club. Franny said: "There was a chance that I might leave last season but I didn't want to go and I'm delighted with the way that things have worked out.
"The club has been my life for the last 16 years and this new contract means that I might have the opportunity to finish my career here."

"It is good to get it all sorted. It was all very straightforward. Everyone knows how much this club means to me and that I do not want to leave," said Benali.

"I would love to finish my playing career here so I am delighted with the extension. It gives me a bit of security and is a weight off my mind."

"I have enjoyed working with Gordon Strachan and the rest of the staff and now it is just a case of trying to get back in," he added.

"I have had to come to terms with not being automatic first-choice but things can change very quickly in football as recent injuries have shown.

"Football is much more of a squad game so I am just keeping myself as fit and as ready as I can."

With Rupert Lowe and Gordon Strachan looking to offload a number of players in the near future who are not really participating in the team, it's gratifying to see that they recognise Benali's qualities and have chosen to retain him.