With Southampton reaching their first cup final for 14 years, there’s plenty of excitement along the south coast. But thanks to the Saints’ Japanese defender Maya Yoshida, the game is also big in Japan.
So when we asked Yoshida for a stirring message to fans before Sunday’s League Cup final against Manchester United, he had plenty to say. The trouble was, he said it in Japanese.
In an exclusive video message for Dressing Room DJ, the Japanese centre-half explained that the clash with United was the chance to win a trophy for the first time in his career. But we had to get our expert Japanese translator on the case to get Yoshida’s words back into English.
In reality, Yoshida speaks fluent English and we’d asked him to address the camera with a message for Japanese fans back home. He said: “Hi, everyone in Japan. Southampton will be playing at the cup final at Wembley on February 26.
Personally, this could be the first time for me to win a trophy in my career. Therefore, I really want to win this final and, if we can, that could mean a new step forward for Japanese players.”
Southampton’s previous final was in 2003, when they lost 1-0 to Arsenal in the FA Cup final. Their only previous League Cup final was a 3-2 defeat to Nottingham Forest in 1979.
Yoshida added that he sees his appearance as an incentive to other Japanese players. He said: “I really want to win this final. If we can, that could mean a new step forward for Japanese players. I will do my best to win – please give us lots of support from Japan.