Southampton boss Pochettino: Yoshida was not injured for West Ham clash

The Saints manager has revealed that the 25-year-old did not miss out on his side's 0-0 draw with the Hammers through fitness but because of the form of his fellow defenders
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino has revealed that Maya Yoshida's recent exclusion from the squad was not down to injury.

The 25-year-old was a key figure in the Premier League outfit’s backline last season, starting 31 league matches, though he failed to even make the bench for his side's 0-0 draw with West Ham on Sunday.

But Pochettino has explained that the Japanese centre-back's absence was down to the form of his fellow defenders, rather than any niggles picked up during the international break.

"We have four centre-halves, we have four defenders, it is also clear that Maya was the last one that arrived during the pre-season," he said.

"He had a really tough pre-season, especially at the beginning. Nonetheless, there is four central defenders and only two can play so I have to make those decisions.

"At the moment, [Dejan] Lovren and [Jose] Fonte are playing, so that’s basically it. It doesn’t have to be that there is a problem with Maya, there is no problem with Maya Yoshida."

Yoshida's sole appearance for Southampton this term came in the 5-1 League Cup victory over Barnsley at the end of August.

However, the former VVV-Venlo star played 90 minutes in both of Japan's recent friendly wins over Guatemala and Ghana.