Saints defender Maya Yoshida said he never considered leaving the club in January, despite losing his place in the team this season.

The Japanese centre half was a regular fixture in the side during the last campaign, following his arrival from Dutch outfit VVV-Venlo in August 2012.

However, the commanding partnership forged by summer signing Dejan Lovren and José Fonte at the heart of defence has resulted in him falling down the pecking order.

Yoshida did not make an appearance in the Premier League until early December and it is only recently, when he replaced the injured Lovren, that he has enjoyed a regular run in the team.

With first-team football particularly important for the 25-year-old this season, ahead of the World Cup in the summer, there were suggestions that Yoshida might look for a loan switch during the transfer window.

But he insisted that was not the case.

“No. The stadium, the club are fantastic,” said Yoshida, who is expected to start alongside Fonte again in tonight’s visit to Hull.

“My dream is to play in the Premier League and have success here.

Crazy “Why would I play half a season then go to another club or another country? That’s crazy.”

That does not change the fact, however, that it has been a difficult season for Yoshida.

He came in for a bit of criticism in his homeland last summer, after committing some costly mistakes in the Confederations Cup.

Things then got worse, as he returned to Saints and found that he had fallen out of the picture to a certain extent.

“It’s not been frustrating, but it has been a disappointing time for me, because I’m looking to play in the World Cup,” he said.

“When I wasn’t playing, the team was playing very, very well, so I couldn’t be very disappointed, but I tried to be professional and wait for my chance, and now I have a big massive chance I think. It can change.”

Yoshida has proved to be a solid deputy for Lovren, and he said it was a wonderful feeling to be back in the team.

“It is good. I’m very happy to be playing again in this stadium, but I also want to win games,” he said.

“There is very good competition for defenders and centre backs, so I need to apply myself more. I want to contribute to the team.”

Saints will look to extend their unbeaten Premier League run to six matches tonight, although there was disappointment at the weekend that they were only able to draw with Stoke at home.

“If we had won we would have caught up on Newcastle, but we missed out on it,” said Yoshida. “The game has gone now and we are focusing on Hull.”