Maya Yoshida admits that life at Southampton has been difficult for him

Southampton have a lot of strength in depth in the defensive department.

Maya Yoshida has admitted to the Daily Echo that playing for Southampton has been difficult for him at times.

The Japanese defender has struggled for starting appearances so far this season, with Virgil Van Dijk and Jose Fonte proving to be Ronald Koeman's preferred partnership at the heart of his back four.

And Yoshida admits that the fierce competition for places makes life tough for him at St. Mary's, although he is looking to use the testing circumstances as a positive. 

"It is difficult for me, but now it is a little bit better," he said. "In high level competition (like this) I can improve."

"But I need more improvements, so just keep go on and I need to improve a lot if I play as a full-back and a centre-back also I need to improve.

"Virgil is a good player and, of course, Jose is always good as a captain."

Breaking up Van Dijk's and Fonte's partnership will be a tough task for Yoshida, as the pair have made an excellent start together.

Van Dijk was brought to St. Mary's from Celtic during the summer transfer window, and he has settled in well at the south coast club.

Fonte, meanwhile, has been one of Southampton's most consistent performers for a number of seasons, and he is one of the first names on Koeman's team-sheet every week.

It means that Yoshida's role looks set to continue being a back-up one, unless there is a dramatic change at St. Mary's as the season progresses. 

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