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I have desire to play for India still: Izumi

Endowed with the strength and skill to thrive either as a midfielder or a winger, Arata Izumi is excited to be back in Pune where he had played most of his football. In an email interview to The Hindu, the Japan-born Indian expresses his desire to play for the country again and bring the Indian Super League Trophy to Pune.

Is coach Antonio Habas behind your move to FC Pune City?

Antonio moving to FC Pune City made my decision easier. It’s always an honour to work with a great coach like him.

You have played under different coaches… How different is Habas from others?

My experience with him at ATK was great and I want to continue playing in his style which is really effective and suits my style of play. His vision and approach towards the game is extremely dynamic and he keeps the team on its feet in a way that really infuses fresh energy into all of us.

You have returned to a place where you resurrected your career (he played for Pune FC in the I-League for five years)…How does it feel?

Pune is extremely close to my heart, this is the place where I have played most of my football, and know the conditions well. The fans here are very passionate about their football. Getting back to Pune and playing in the ISL for FC Pune City feels really special.

Did you speak to marquee player Eidur Gudjohnsen? How does he help the team during practice sessions?

Well I don’t think Eidur needs any sort of introduction; he is a footballing legend and have played with some of the best clubs in the world. His mere presence acts as a great boost to the squad and the way he shares his experience and guides the youngsters in training is just so wonderful to see. I feel honoured to share the dressing room with him and hopefully together we can bring lots of glory to the club.

Your memorable moment in the ISL so far…

There are many. One of them would be against Kochi where I came off the bench and scored twice to help my team win against a strong side.

Do you still nurture hopes of playing for the country?

That was the only reason that I changed my citizenship and yes, I have desire to play for India still.

Pune has got some exciting Indian youngsters and with Habas and Gudjohnsen to guide, where dou you think Pune City will finish this time?

We have a fabulous mix of players. It’s been a great experience here in Spain training with them. We have played a few friendlies with local teams here and the feeling is good. The coach and support staff are ensuring that our intent are matched with solid efforts from them too.

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