Emmanuel Boateng is hoping he can become a regular figure in the Black Stars squad after earning his debut Ghana call-up, but insists he's not arriving to the camp as Asamoah Gyan's successor.
The 22-year-old Levante forward could become the latest Ghanaian striker to audition for the role of Gyan's long-term replacement in two international friendly games against Japan and Iceland.
Boateng has arrived in Yokohama with the side for the first of those two games - scheduled for May 31st - and hopes the trip will be the first of many to come with the Black Stars.
"To get a national-team call-up is a really special feeling," he told KweséESPN.
"Everything has happened a bit fast this season but now I hope I can play for the Black Stars for a long time by taking my chance in these two friendly games."
Boateng has represented Ghana at junior level, where he was used mostly as a substitute for the U-20 side at the World Cup.
He understands that the intense competition at senior level means he may not automatically be able to command a starting spot.
"Unlike what people say, I don't think this is like playing to see who replaces Gyan," the young forward continued. "He is still in active business and a striker many of us really look up to.
"I think it benefits the young players coming in that he is still around the national team," Boateng said.
"Then there is Jordan Ayew, who has had a really good season at club level, and the likes of Raphael Dwamena and Richard Boakye Yiadom all around
"I understand I just wont walk in[to the first team], but there is so much to learn from these players and so much that we can do together as a team, which I want to focus on."
Boateng's patient approach has paid off so far at club level.
He has since negotiated his way up from Charity Stars in Ghana through to Rio Ave and Moreirense in Portugal, before arriving at Levante, where six goals last season including four against Real Madrid and Barcelona have earned him an international call-up.
"Those two games have really lifted me up," Boateng concluded. "I didn't score as many goals as I would have wanted to, but for a first season I was happy with the opportunities I got."
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