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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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SaintPaulVW added 13:51 - Nov 16
I'm sure it's a win-win for both him and us. He gets to keep his fitness levels up and we get an excellent pro to help demonstrate the standards the young players need to set themselves in training. Aside from his club career, shouldn't be forgotten he was a standout player for Japan at the world cup.

underweststand added 14:22 - Nov 16
Some of us were a tad dismayed hearing your regular criticism of Maya's performances (Nick) but given the circumstances after; Jose Fonte's premature and unwarranted transfer, and Van Dijk's subsequent long term injury meant that Maya and the (then) unproven Jack Stephens were left to carry the can for many of the defensive shortcomings

He surely made his share of mistakes but I think the mere factor of his presence at the back outweighed the problems that cursed the whole of the defence at the time. I'm glad to see that Maya's career has continued to prosper and that he can still get a foot into the Japan squad that he captained for several years past. Those of us who appreciated his efforts might dream of seeing him back in a Saints shirt, but it's unlikely to become a reality, but as he will be " resting" from the USA League until the Spríng, we could do worse than to give him a a monthly contract until the summer - given the number of fixtures we still have to play in this league - and have a hugely experienced defender on the bench, at least for a few months whilst chasing promotion.

DellBoyWally added 15:30 - Nov 16
A true professional, never shirked, a great guy and unfortunate to be paired with JS!
Hopefully he can pass on words of wisdom to the young guys: they need it!

WestSussexSaint added 17:00 - Nov 16
Centre back is the one area I was thinking we need some cover at in the January transfer window. We could do worse than give him a short term contract. With his experience he could be a good mentor for the younger players in the squad and act as cover at CB. As we have seen we currently only have 3 fit CBs and already Bednarek has picked up one suspension. A few more yellow cards and/or injuries and it could derail our promotion push.

I’m sure he could DAJFU at this level and there would be no long term financial commitment. The only question is whether Yoshi would want to come back but he is a model professional and I’m sure he has a positive view of the club hence why he is training with us. Win win in my book.

Bowlercow added 18:33 - Nov 16
A model pro who never gave less than 100% effort when called upon and never whinged when he wasn't.
He gained a bad rep when RoKo played him as as a left back He definitely got better when he had a run of starts

A1079 added 23:36 - Nov 16
I always had the greatest respect for Maya Yoshida. Yes, he was far from perfect as a defender and an error or two could be costly but he never shirked his responsibilities, he stood in post Fonte. Van Dijk era admirably and he even scored the odd important goal. You could see he loved playing for SFC and never complained (as far as I could tell).

RedandWight added 13:52 - Nov 17
There was no doubting Yoshi's commitment and loyalty to the club. Yes, he made an error or two but I think all Saints fans have a soft spot for him. I for one truly appreciated the effort and commitment he gave to the club.

darthvader added 10:44 - Nov 19
He won me a few pounds on the occasions he scored ..a couple of times against west ham and a beauty against Aston Villa .. i cheered for the team , him scoring, and my little bet . So thank you Maya.

Glad to see him around he never gave up and was quite tough too .

Could we re sign him till the spring ? Great cover from the bench

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