ASAMOAH Gyan returns to pre-season training tomorrow confident that his second year on Wearside will be even more productive than his first.
Ghanaian hitman Gyan finished as Sunderland’s leading marksman during his maiden season in the Premier League after pipping Darren Bent and Danny Welbeck with 10 top flight goals.
While Gyan’s haul paled in comparison to Bent’s 24 goals from his first campaign at the Stadium of Light, the Ghanaian’s tally still made healthy reading considering he only started 20 top flight games.
Gyan will be expected to better that tally next season, particularly as new attacking signings Connor Wickham and Ji Dong-won are unproven in the Premier League.
But Gyan is ready to handle the mantle of being Sunderland’s senior hitman when Steve Bruce’s players return to work at the Academy of Light tomorrow.
Gyan told the Echo: “I’ll definitely be a better player next season.
“As I said before I came here, it was my dream to play in the English Premier League.
“I feel I have established myself now but there is more to come.
“The fans love me which is really important.
“When the people are behind you, you keep going and I hope to do more.
“It depends on me keeping working hard.
“There are some seasons where things don’t go well, but that doesn’t mean you are a bad player.”
Gyan knows he will benefit from undergoing the rigours of a first pre-season campaign with Sunderland.
His preparations last summer were far from ideal after returning to former club Rennes following his efforts in helping Ghana to the World Cup quarter final.
Gyan was allowed to lay idle by the French outfit and was well short of match fitness when his protracted move to Sunderland finally went through on the final day of the August transfer window.
But Gyan was able to overcome his lack of fitness by November and showed why Bruce paid £13million to land the former Udinese hitman.
“It’s the most difficult league in the world and you need to be 100 per cent fit to survive, which I wasn’t when I arrived,” added Gyan.
“There have been plenty of good players who have come to the Premier League and not done well.
“So it just shows how difficult it is.”
Meanwhile, there was fresh speculation today over Gyan’s future despite Sunderland maintaining their firm stance that the striker will not be leaving the club.
Spurs are among the clubs interested in Sunderland’s record signing, but the Black Cats will not consider selling Gyan, particularly after the departures of Bent and Jordan Henderson.
Gyan’s agent Fabien Pivateau has not helped to dampen the talk though after claiming: “I can’t say if he is staying or not.
“As far as I know one club has tabled an offer. He is returning to the club for pre-season and we will sit down with the coach to talk about it.”