DEFENDER Maya Yoshida has decided to donate one per cent of his yearly salary to the Saints Foundation.

It follows in the footsteps of Manchester United footballer Juan Mata who led the way with Common Goal, which encourages players to part ways with a fraction of their hefty income.

Although Oriol Romeu is a part of Mata’s scheme, Yoshida has become the first Saints player to do this with the club’s Foundation.

And the Japanese international admitted it was his dad who inspired him to make the charitable five-figure donation.

Speaking to the Daily Echo, Yoshida said: “It was from my dad helping the people a lot.

“There was one time when I had so many comics on my desk and then one day they were gone. I asked him where they went, and he said, ‘to charity’.

“He was a man like this and that has inspired me a lot because once I get enough of something, I want to the same as he did.

“I had been thinking about donating for a long time and then Mata asked me to join his Common Goal initiative.

“That made me think about what I can do for Southampton and then I was invited to the Saints Foundation’s dinner and I saw the work they have done.

“It was amazing, and they are the ones who I want to work with. I spoke with Greg [Baker] and said I wanted to join.”

Club veteran Yoshida has been at Saints for seven years now, having joined from Dutch side Feyenoord back in 2012.

Given his professionalism both on and off the pitch, he is the type of player that the youngsters involved with the club will be looking up to.

And Greg Baker, who is in charge of the Saints Foundation, explained why having Yoshida on board is huge for them.

Baker said: “It’s a game-changer.

“It’s fantastic for us. We get a huge amount of support from the players who come out on visits and interacting with our participants.

“But for a player to want to invest some of their money in what we do locally is a real bonus for us.

“I think, hopefully, it’s a great sign of what we are doing in the community.”

The Saints Foundation works with more than 19,000 people each year, with people from as young as three to participants aged 103.

First-team players regularly turn up at events to not only boost the charity's profile but to also help with the work that they do in the local community.

The south coast side have announced that they are aiming to invest more than £3m into the local community over the next 12 months so that they can continue to change people's lives.

“Maya approached us and said that he wanted to donate one per cent of his salary and that he wanted it to help the community.

“We have been in conversation with him for the last few months trying to work out what it will look like and exactly where the money will go.

“He said he wanted it to support young people in Southampton and for it to help with football development in some way and to help support people with a disability.

“We are very fortunate to have a very supportive squad, but this is the first time anyone has wanted to donate a sizeable amount of money.

“It’s a real bonus for the whole club, not just for the Saints Foundation.

“He is a great guy and he described it to us that he loves Southampton, he loves the football club and saw helping us as the best way to support people who had supported him.”