'I'm On The Starting Line'

By SFC Media time Thu 20 Sep Club

Maya Yoshida says he achieved a career aim by moving into the Barclays Premier League with Southampton – but insists he's only just beginning.

The 24-year-old agreed to join Saints at the end of last month and made his debut in last weekend's defeat to Arsenal.

The Japan international replaced the injured Jos Hooiveld barely half-an-hour into the visit to Emirates Stadium, enduring a difficult afternoon as his new side were beaten 6-1.

And, having watched English football as a youngster growing up in Asia, defender Maya is ready to make the most of the opportunity to show his qualities on a new stage – starting with Saturday's visit of Aston Villa.

"The Premier League is a very, very high level but I'll try to do my best to win games for the supporters and the Club," said Yoshida. 

"When I was in the youth team of Nagoya Grampus Eight in Japan at 15-years-old, I often watched games in the Premier League with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool. 

"I still like to watch and, now I'm here, I can play games in the Premier League. That's a real success but I'm just standing on the starting line – now I want to show my quality in the Premier League.

"It was a challenging game for me to play against Arsenal because they are a very big team," he continued. 

"I enjoyed it (last Saturday) because the Emirates is a great stadium and the opponent was very strong – and it was my debut in the Premier League. 

"I played not-so-good in the first half – especially for the third goal, which was my mistake – but in the second half I calmed down and was able to show my skill, I think. 

"I have confidence that I can play in the Premier League – from this Saturday.

"I am still looking forward to playing in our stadium and I want to show my good qualities to the Southampton supporters."

Nagasaki-born Maya only arrived in Southampton last Wednesday after spending time away with his national team, but has already begun settling into English life.

New teammate and fellow Japanese Tadanari Lee has been helping his compatriot adapt to his new surroundings, with one particular subject high on the agenda: food!

British cuisine tends to get a bad press beyond these shores, but Yoshida is far from dissatisfied with the country's cuisine.

"I don't believe that British food is not-so-good because I have lived in Holland for two-and-a-half years!" he laughed.

"To be honest, it's not so great in Holland but I think food is very good in Southampton – or maybe the food Chung has organised is very good! 

"I eat breakfast and lunch [at the training ground], which is very good and delicious. At dinner time I've been to some restaurants with Chung – yesterday it was Japanese and two days ago Italian. It was really good!

"I heard many things about the Club, the city and the culture from Chung," he continued.

"He said the team was very good, very traditional and organised. It's a very nice life – the view is very nice."

To watch Maya's first one-on-one interview with Saints Player, click HERE. His full press conference can also be viewed HERE.

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