STEVE Bruce is ready for the challenge of reproducing Asamoah Gyan’s international form on the domestic stage.
Ghana hitman Gyan boasts a record of a goal every other game for his country after grabbing a dramatic injury-time equaliser in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with England at Wembley.
While Gyan has been a success at Sunderland with 10 goals since his £13million summer move from Rennes, Bruce feels the 25-year-old is inspired by playing for his country.
But the Sunderland boss is confident Gyan will be a better player on Wearside next season after a year acclimatising to the Premier League.
Bruce said: “He’s got 10 goals for us, which is a fantastic return, but I think he’ll get better.
“When he first came, there was the hangover from the World Cup – I don’t think he had a pre-season.
“But he grows when he pulls on the shirt of the national team and I think that goes for them all.
“I first saw him (play for Ghana) at Millwall years ago and he produced a performance like the one on Tuesday.
“I’ve seen him play well for us and score great goals, but he seems to enjoy playing for his national team, he takes great pride from it.
“We’ve got to try to get him to reproduce that form he showed on Tuesday because he looked a world-class centre-forward – big, strong, quick, with a trick and he can finish with both feet.
“He’s just got to adapt to the Premier League. He was shocked there was no winter break and he’d played at the World Cup.
“Playing in England has been tough for him, but he will get better.
“We’ll see Asamoah and the boy that he is, start to come out.
“It’s adapting to society, to the North East, to the weather, the food.
“I’d say to anybody, I’ll plonk you in Accra and see how you get on.
“But our three Ghana players are all very happy here so I’m sure the best of Asa is still to come.”
Meanwhile, Bruce was encouraged by the signs in training yesterday from on-loan Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck, who made his senior England debut on Tuesday.
“Danny Welbeck trained yesterday and you could see him sticking his chest out, playing with a huge pride,” added Bruce.
“It should stand him in good stead.
“Keeping him is our number one aim.
“We’ll do everything we can, but it’s very difficult to buy a 20-year-old with the world at his feet at Manchester United.
“We’ll try our best, no matter what it costs, I can say that.”