Japan captain Yoshida relishes Old Trafford 'debut' as Premier League clubs show interest

The VVV defender will lead his team-mates against Egypt on Saturday afternoon as Japan hope to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since the 2000 Sydney Olympics
Four years after serving as a member of the winless Japan squad at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, VVV defender Maya Yoshida has potentially found redemption - and the possibility of a new home - after an impressive run so far in this year's London Games.

The 23-year-old captain has marshalled the Japan back line in maintaining a clean sheet through the group stage; making them the only country aside from Mexico to advance to the knockout stage without allowing a goal.

"Yoshida's a classy player," a Newcastle scout told Hochi. He wasn't alone in his assessment, as scouts from Stoke, Fulham, and Southampton were also on hand to observe Yoshida in Japan's scoreless draw against Honduras.

According to Hochi, VVV president Hai Berden is on his way to Manchester in order to meet with potential suitors after receiving offers from both English and German clubs.

Meanwhile, Yoshida himself is looking forward to Saturday's match at Old Trafford, where Japan will face Egypt in the Round of 16.

"There's a lot of Japanese living in England," the player told Nikkan, "and unlike Beijing [2008] there will be a lot of locals supporting us in the stands. I want to give them a suitable performance."

While coach Takashi Sekizuka was relieved that his team avoided the four-hour journey to Newcastle by winning their group, Yoshida was clearly anticipating his debut at the home of Manchester United for different reasons.

"I can't wait to rub it in Shinji [Kagawa's] face that I debuted here before he did," he joked. "You better let him know I said that!"

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