Maya Yoshida Is Back At Southampton
Thursday, 16th Nov 2023 13:21
It has been revealed that central defender Maya Yoshida has been training at Staplewood with his former club, read on now for more details and a picture gallery of his time at the club.
Maya Yoshida has been back training with Saints at Staplewood this week, but before anyone starts making any comment, positive or otherwise, this is not with a view of a return to the playing squad at St Mary's, but to keep up his fitness during the MLS close season in America.
Yoshida joined Southampton on 30th August 2012 shortly after the club's first season back in the Premier League had started.
He would make his debut up at the Emirates in a 6-1 defeat to Arsenal as a 28th minute substitute, with Saints a goal down at the time.
He would go on to play 32 times in the Premier League that season as Saints recovered from a poor start.
In 2013/14 though, with the signing of Dejan Lovren his opportunities would be limited and he would never play that many games in a season again, just 8 in the Premier in this season as Saints reached 8th place.
Going forward he was often third choice central defender, as firstly Toby Alderweireld and then Virgil van Dijk partnered Jose Fonte in the heart of the defence.
In 2016/17 he started again as 3rd choice but as the season progressed with Jose Fonte clearly wanting away, he started to come in the frame, an injury to Virgil Van Dijk and Fonte's departue both within a week or so in January 2017 led to him forming a partnership with Jack Stephens in the centre and this saw him play at Wembley against Manchester United in the League Cup Final.
In 2017/18 he would start the season as number 1 choice, but a combination of injury and being dropped meant he would be restricted to just 23 starts as Saints struggled to find consistency at the back and flitted between Wesley Hoedt, the soon to depart Van Dijk, Stephens and Yoshida himself.
The following season would see him start just 17 games and 2019/20 would see his last appearances in a Saints shirt, starting just 6 games in the first half of the season and he would join Sampdoria on loan for the rest of the season, which lead to a permanent switch in the summer of 2021.
He would stay two seasons in Italy before joining Schalke in in 2022, initially being first choice but dropping out of the side in the final quarter of the season.
Leaving the German side on a free transfer in the summer of 2023, he joined MLS side LA Galaxy for the final part of the 2023 season and was a regular in their side, however they did not prosper and ended up in 13th position, although he was Captain for the final games.
Hence he finds himself training at Staplewood, he is contracted to go back to Los Angeles in the New Year and is keeping fit during the winter break.
He is clearly held in high regard at the club and also the fans, I have not been his greatest fan whilst he was at St Mary's, but I did appreciate the role he played here during most of 7 1/2 years at Saints, he was a good back up to bring in when injuries and suspensions hit and he was a loyal player, unlike some of those whom he often found himself on the bench for.
Photo: Action Images
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