• Kyodo

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Southampton’s Japan international defender Maya Yoshida on Saturday offered his support to the victims of the series of powerful earthquakes that have rocked his native Kyushu over the past few days.

Speaking after Southampton’s 1-1 draw away to Everton in the Premier League, Yoshida, who hails from Nagasaki Prefecture, said, “I want to take action through charity events and the like.”

The quakes, which have hit Kumamoto Prefecture the hardest, have claimed 41 lives but Yoshida said his friends and family were not directly affected.

The London Olympic captain got his first outing in four games in Saturday’s match when he was called from the bench to replace injured center-back Jose Fonte seven minutes before halftime.

Yoshida admitted the substitution had caught him off guard, but he delivered a composed performance to help the Saints earn a point.

“I was not prepared at all and was a bit panicked,” said Yoshida.

It remains to be seen whether Yoshida will feature in the remaining four games of the season, and he emphasized the importance of seizing his chance.

“I am not in bad condition but could do with a bit more match fitness,” he said. “The important thing is that I deliver results little by little when a chance comes my way and win the trust (of manager Ronald Koeman).”

Koeman’s side needed a 76th-minute Sadio Mane goal to cancel out Ramiro Funes Mori’s second-half opener for Everton.

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