Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan is standing by his decision to take a break from international football but hopes his self-imposed exile will enable him to come back "bigger and mentally stronger".
Gyan announced his intention to temporarily quit the international stage after receiving personal abuse for missing a vital penalty in the Black Stars' 1-0 defeat to Zambia in the CAF Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals earlier this month.
He also missed a last-gasp spot-kick in Ghana's quarter-final loss to Uruguay at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa.
The Ghana Football Association have urged Gyan to change his mind but the 26-year-old, on loan at United Arab Emirates side Al Ain from Sunderland, feels a break will benefit both parties.
He wrote on Twitter: "Firstly it's important that I express my sincere apologies to my country. I never intended to make a decision like this early on in my career. Psychologically I am down. As you can imagine it's been very hard for me mentally to miss two important successive penalties for my country.
"And because of this a break to recoup my thoughts and emotions will aid me to come back bigger and mentally stronger. I never fully recovered from 2010 World Cup and now 2012 AFCON. I want my country to know I love playing for them and I wouldn't be who I am without them."