Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah has insisted that captain Asamoah Gyan remains an important player in his squad, amid criticisms from a section of Ghanaians following the striker's recent call up to the national team.
The 32-year-old has suffered a dip in form at club level recently following a troublesome knee injury, and seeing only 44 minutes of game time this term with Turkish side Kayserispor.
Gyan last featured for the Black Stars in September 2017, however, Appiah named him ahead of Jordan Ayew and Rafael Dwamena in a 23-man squad to face Sierra Leone in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying double header this month. Both matches did not hold due to a Fifa ban on Sierra Leone FA.
"Gyan is still an important player for Ghana. We should ask ourselves, is there any striker out there who is better than Gyan?" Appiah told Topical Radio in Germany.
"Can you mention any Ghanaian striker that everybody will have faith in him [in the absence of Gyan] as we speak? I always say that whenever you are in team building, you cannot drop all the old players you've been working with over the years," he said.
"What we need to understand is that, it is always important to blend the new players with old ones to help in the team's development and chemistry.
"As a Ghanaian, I took the risk of building a new squad which will be able to take over from the one we have always seen and I strongly believe it will pay off with time even in my absence," he added.
Ghana sit third in Group F with three points, four behind leaders Kenya, and will travel to Addis Ababa to face Ethiopia in November before hosting Kenya in the last round of matches.