Ronald Koeman says Maya Yoshida’s versatility makes him a vital member of his Southampton squad.
The Saints boss named Yoshida at right-back for Wednesday night’s Capital One Cup Round 4 tie against Aston Villa at St Mary’s.
Yoshida capped his first start since the home defeat to Manchester United with an excellent goal to put Saints on their way to victory against the Villans.
And for Koeman, Wednesday’s game was the perfect opportunity for Yoshida to showcase his qualities.
“He’s a fantastic player to have in our squad,” Koeman told youtube.com/southamptonfc.
“That’s because he can play different positions and he’s a very good professional.
“If there was one player who deserved to play (against Aston Villa), that was Maya.”
The 27 year-old opened the scoring for Saints in the 51st minute after playing a neat one-two with Gastón Ramírez and firing the ball beyond Brad Guzan with his left foot.
Koeman was pleased to see his right-back make a contribution at the other end, and says he told Yoshida shortly before the goal that he should look to try and get forward more.
“Maya is not a scoring player normally – he has other qualities,” Koeman continued.
“But already there was one moment in the first half that I said ‘if there is space, go!’.
“I know he shouldn’t go 100 times, but maybe four or five times if there is space, because Gastón plays inside and outside there is space to overlap.
“He didn’t overlap (when scoring), he came from the inside, but he scored a great goal.”