Maya Yoshida might have headed back to the Saints bench, but he is still expected to keep his spot in Japan’s line-up for the World Cup.

The centre back, pictured below, has enjoyed an extended run in his club’s team, but has now reverted to his role as a substitute, with Dejan Lovren and José Fonte both fit.

However, Yoshida remains the first-choice at the heart of his country’s back line.

The 25-year-old has returned to Japan this week for today’s friendly, against New Zealand, in Tokyo.

The game marks their penultimate friendly before this summer’s World Cup, where they have been drawn in a group with Colombia, Greece and Ivory Coast.