Maya Yoshida has admitted even he is surprised by his rise to become a first team regular after a nightmare start at Saints.

The 24-year-old was signed by former Saints boss Nigel Adkins last summer from Dutch side VVV-Venlo, but endured a miserable debut at Arsenal.

Yoshida replaced the injured Jos Hooiveld with the score at 1-0 to the Gunners, who then moved up through the gears, recording an emphatic 6-1 victory with the former Nagoya Grampus man partly at fault for the third goal.

After forming part of the Japan squad at the 2012 Olympics, Yoahida was thrown into the Premier League after just one training session with his Saints teammates.

But he has adapted since then and will be one of the first names on Mauricio Pochettino's team-sheet for the visit of West Brom today.

Recalling his debut, Yoshida admitted he did not think he would get a chance in the first team so early into his career in England but has enjoyed his run in the side since that forgetful day at the Emirates.

“To be honest I didn't expect to get a big chance so early," he said.

"I was hoping I could get a really big chance against Arsenal but after then I have kept playing well until now.

"Playing football is the most important thing and I'm very grateful to Nigel and Mauricio so I will just keep going.

"We have played well, are organised defensively and when we are attacking we show good risk management with Corky [Jack Cork] and Morgan [Schneiderlin] playing very well."

A win for Southampton against the Baggies would take them on to 42 points for the season and almost secure another season in the top flight.

But Yoshida wants the team to look at those sides above them and aim to finish as high as possible rather than worry about the scrap for survival below.

"If we get one more point or three points we are almost safe but I think we should put more focus on higher targets," he said. "Don't look at what is under us but look up.

"Many players have signed new contracts like Rickie Lambert, Adam [Lallana], [Artur] Boruc - and if we keep the same players and get new players [in the summer] we will have a big opportunity to get more points and have big ambitions."