Former Southampton striker Gordon Watson has insisted that the club need more leaders if they want to challenge for Europe.
The 42-year-old, who spent two years with Southampton from 1995-1997 before becoming Bradford City’s then record signing, claimed that amid a lot of positives in the side’s first spell back in the Premier League, there were also plenty of negatives.
Southampton finished 14th in their first campaign back in the top flight after seven years away despite spending over £30 million in pre-season.
“First of all, the team did superbly well to stay up – and that was mission accomplished,” Watson told the Southern Daily Echo.
“I will give some players the benefit of the doubt, because last season was their first in the Premier League.
“Some looked like they had a lot more to give, and they will need to give more next season as it will be a tougher season than last.”
Watson claimed that Morgan Schneiderlin, Luke Shaw and Nathaniel Clyne impressed him the most, alongside Jack Cork, and stated that they could all feature at bigger clubs.
He asserted that a number of players will need to step up if the club want to challenge for a top-10 place.
“We need more leaders next season on the pitch,” he added.
“Last season we had Rickie (Lambert), we had Luke, we had Morgan and Jack. We need more.
“We need Jay Rodriguez to kick on, we need Adam (Lallana) to get through a season without an ankle injury, we need Jason Puncheon to become a leader – not just play well sporadically.”
Southampton will begin the next campaign away to West Bromwich Albion on August 17 in a fixture that is markedly easier than last season’s start when they faced defending champions Manchester City.