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Arata Izumi speaks exclusively to Goal.com about his call up to the Indian side and how glad is he to get the recognition for his performances with the Red Lizards...

On the back of a call up from the Indian National Team, Goal.com spoke exclusively to Arata Izumi, the Pune FC attacking midfielder who scored in his side’s last game which ended in defeat against East Bengal.

“I am very excited to be a part of the national set up,” he gladly said when asked about how he felt on being named in the 23-member India squad for an international friendly against Palestine to be held next month.

“It was one of the biggest reasons to come and play in India and I am really glad it has happened,” he added.

Although born in Japan, he received an Indian Passport last year, which gave him a chance of appearing in Indian colours.

"Obviously, it was one of the toughest decisions for me to accept Indian citizenship. I had to consider a lot of factors, and talk to a lot of people, but I finally made the decision and I am happy about it,” he mentioned.

In his fourth season with Pune FC and a seventh overall in India, Arata is happy about life in the country and feels settled at the club.

"They (Pune FC) takes real good care of me and I am satisfied. Although we haven’t won any trophies, we’re having an outside chance for the championship this season. We are taking it as a challenge and working towards it.”

When quizzed about what he could add to the Indian National side, Arata diplomatically answered, "I can’t say what I can add, but I can certainly say that I will give my 100% whenever I am on the pitch. People have expectations from me and I assure them that I will try my best to make them happy.”

India won the Nehru Cup last year by beating the second string side of Cameroon and one among the fans who cheered for the Blue Tigers was the former Mahindra United player.

“I, like all others expected Cameroon to win the game as they are a quality side. But India played really well that night. I loved the attitude and spirit of the players. They showed the fighting spirit,” he proudly reminisced.

Lastly, when asked about the challenge that lies ahead of India in the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers, where they have to face the likes of Myanmar, Guam and the Chinese Taipei in Group A, he said, "International games are tough. Anything can happen and speaking about it doesn’t matter. I will give my 100% if I am selected to play in the group matches and I’m sure that the whole squad will too.”

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