Sunday, 03 March 2024


Maya Yoshida Interview

Maya Yoshida spoke with JSoccer Magazine following Japan's preparatory match against Switzerland, On June 8. Although the preparation for the World Cup is progressing, Yoshida admitted that it is hard to adjust to a new manager in so little time.

JSoccer: You had a long season in the Premier League, fighting against relegation. How are you feeling, physically, right now?

Maya Yoshida: Physically? I've had a slight break after the end of the season and then started the training camp quite swiftly so I feel I am in good condition. Four years ago, before the World Cup I had a long break and then It was difficult to get back into peak condition before the tournament, so this time it is much better. I have absolutely no doubt about my physical condition being as good as it can be.

JS: What do you feel are the strengths of the Japan team going into the World Cup?

MY: As you know, we've had a managerial issue, but we have now settled down. Communication is much better than before, obviously, because all the staff are Japanese. There are so many discussions and meetings – all the time, even during breakfast, lunch and dinner – we are having discussions all the time because, to be honest, we don't have enough time, not as much time as we need for preparation.

JS: Akira Nishino started just a month or so ago, has it been difficult to adjust to different tactics and formations?

MY: As I said, there just isn't enough time, but we try... today we tried to dominate the Swiss on the sides and we had better imagination, better communication and better combinations which helped us dominate at times. We have discussed this a lot in the dressing room and we still have many issues that need to be worked on, in both attack and defence. So, more discussions, in order to improve and be ready for the game against Paraguay, and hopefully we will get the right result and be ready for the World Cup.

JS: On a different note, you are a Nagasaki native and V-Varen are now in J1 for the first time, and doing quite well. How do you feel about this? Do you follow the team?

MY: Yes, of course. I just re-tweeted a promotion they were having! I think that perhaps my parents are happier about this than I am as they now get J1 games locally. Sometimes they went to Sagan Tosu to see J1 games, especially against Nagoya Grampus – my previous team. I think it's great for the people of Nagasaki who love football. I really appreciate JapanNet – the biggest sponsor of V-Varen – who bring jobs and prosperity to the city. Nagasaki is not really a rich city, but it is a very special city, rich in tradition and I am glad that V-Varen can be another symbol of the city.

JS: ... and V-Varen will be getting a new stadium by about 2022. Will you be there for the opening, perhaps?!

MY: It will be on the site where there used to be huge shipyards and a lot of employment for the people of Nagasaki – now they are closed, so it is great to see that this area will be come fashionable, energetic and enjoyable for the people of the city. It's going to be really good.

JS: Do you get back to Nagasaki as often as you'd like?

MY: Unfortunately only about once a year as I don't get enough holiday time with the Premier League commitments!

JS: Good luck in Russia!