Asian Cup timing a risk - Maya Yoshida

By Mani DjazmiBBC Sport
Maya Yoshida (right) in action for Japan against Australia
Yoshida (right) has played 12 games for Southampton so far this season

Japan and Southampton defender Maya Yoshida wants a re-think over the timing of the Asian Cup.

He says leaving European clubs in the middle of a season for the competition, which runs from 9 to 31 January in Australia, is a big risk for players.

Yoshida, 26, has recently signed a three-year contract extension.

"In Europe, every country has a competition going on and we have to leave the club for one month in the winter transfer window," he said.

"In my situation, I have just half a year's contract more and fortunately I could renew the contract.

"But [Japan team-mates] like Keisuke [Honda] and Shinji [Kagawa] have massive clubs [AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund] with good budgets to get new players. It's too much risk for the players."

Yoshida will make his 50th appearance for the Samurai Blue if he is picked in Japan's opening match of their Asian Cup defence against debutants Palestine on Monday.

He says the solution is to play the tournament in the European summer.

"If Asian football really wants to improve and catch up to European or South American football, we have to think about this situation," he said.

"I know it's very difficult about television rights or something but I think the best moment is the same time as the Euro."

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