Norwich City striker Josh Sargent admitted his on-going ankle issue holds the key to a leading role in the USA’s Copa America tilt.

Gregg Berhalter’s squad begin their tournament on home soil on Sunday night against Bolivia, but Sargent missed both the warm up friendlies against Colombia and Brazil with the problem that blighted his Championship season.

Sargent missed nearly four months of the Canaries’ campaign following ankle surgery, and suffered a flare up late in the first leg of the play-off semi-final against Leeds.

The frontman was forced off at half-time in the second leg rout at Elland Road, but the 24-year-old’s 18 goal contributions in 26 league appearances is likely to attract interest in this summer’s transfer window.

The Missourian led the line for his country at the 2022 World Cup, but missed March’s Nations League triumph as he looked to step up his fitness following a new year club comeback.

“It is feeling good at the moment. It is kind of a day-by-day thing,” he said. “I have been training with the guys the past couple of days and everything is going well. Hopefully it stays that way.

”For a while now, pretty much ever since the World Cup it is that balance to push the ankle or rest it.

"That has been a lot of talking with my club and national team. I am doing everything I can. After a big operation there are bound to be little things that aggravate the ankle.

“I didn’t know how it would be coming to the friendlies. It didn’t feel great but I put in a lot of work with the physios. Gregg has put his faith in me to pull this around and get some minutes in this tournament and do well.”

In Sargent’s absence, the Stars and Stripes were hammered 5-1 by Colombia in a pre-tournament friendly, but drew 1-1 with Brazil in Florida.

“I don’t know what went on in the Colombia game but it was day and night with Brazil in terms of our approach and mentality.

“That is the real US and we know in a tournament like this we all have to be dialled in and at our absolute best,” said the Norwich forward, appearing as a guest on the latest Men in Blazers podcast.

“This is a big moment (Sunday) and we need to show that grit and firepower and stick together as a team if we want to have a chance to win this thing.

“We want people to know that we have a lot of good young players coming up with the passion to play for that crest, and hopefully we represent that. As a group we have talked about it and when you go into a tournament the goal is to win it.

"But we know there are some of the best teams in the world. We might not have as many skilful players but as a team we can be better.”

Berhalter confirmed at his pre-match press call all 26 players are available for Sunday's opener against Bolívia.

"From my understanding, everyone will be available to play some role," said Berhalter. "I can't go into specifics about length of time for Josh, but I know he's available to play a role."