Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan claims he is not surprised to be one of the stars of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ ahead of tomorrow's quarter-final with Uruguay in Johannesburg.
The Rennes player has scored three goals in four matches including the winner against the USA in the last 16. It is a far cry from two years ago, when Gyan was close to quitting the CAF Africa Cup of Nations after being criticised by the Ghana supporters.
Now the 24-year-old, who has recovered from an ankle knock, has his sights set on playing in the Premier League. Gyan said: "I did expect to score goals here because I did so well for my club and the confidence is there. I've scored many goals for my club. I am not surprised. When I am 100% fit, I know what I can do on the field.
"I am not surprised to be a star here. I know what I am worth when I am 100% fit. I thank God for that. People compare me with big names like Lionel Messi and I'm very happy to hear that. They are the best strikers in the world.
I am not surprised to be a star here. I know what I am worth when I am 100% fit.
"You also have to remember that two years ago I was criticised by my compatriots," he added. "It hurt. But I never lost trust in myself. I knew that when 100% fit I would perform and that is what has happened."
Gyan admits a laid-back approach - including a bout of singing - has helped Ghana become only the third African nation after Cameroon and Senegal to reach the last eight of the FIFA World Cup.
"Uruguay are a difficult side but we don't care who we are going to play against. We are ready to play anyone," he said. "I don't think that is a problem. We shall go there and play our hearts out and we will come out victorious.
"We know all of Africa is supporting us. We are the only African team left and we want to make everyone happy. We know how to psych ourselves up before the game. That is the key to our success. Sometimes we sing all the time, we just forget about the game, and make sure we consider it on our terms because we know what we can do on the field."
Gyan also believes a united squad has been a key factor in Ghana's success. "We are united. We don't have any problems. I always say football is not about fighting, football is fun. Although we are passionate, we don't need to fight. We just play with happiness. If you have problems, it is very difficult for you to play."
As for his own future, Gyan admitted: "It is my wish to play in the Premier League but I am now a player of Rennes and I am concentrating on my club and also the World Cup. We will see after the World Cup."