Born in Japan but true blue Indian now

Arata

Complete team man

Izumi is yet to meet coach Wim Koevermans, though the Dutchman has been following his progress for quite some time now. Whether Izumi manages to break into the playing XI is anyone's guess. But in a team that struggles to impose themselves on the opposition physically, the 30-year-old will add value to the squad. In the six years he has spent in India, he has created an impression of being someone whose work rate is high, has a strong physical presence on the field and a decent eye for goal. Derrick Pereira, who is Izumi's coach at Pune and earlier at Mahindra, believes the striker has an attitude that will help him excel at the international level. "He is a complete team man and has matured as a player over the last five years. What I like about him is that he is extremely hard working and is technically sharp," Pereira points out.

The AIFF has made attempts to include Indian origin footballers in the past. They came close to getting British striker Michael Chopra but the deal didn't materialise. Izumi feels PIOs can only help India improve as a team. "It's up to the AIFF to decide (whether to include more PIOs). But such players can have a positive impact on the team," he says.

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