Contending with rejection, knockbacks and self doubt have shaped Josh Sargent's journey to starring on the World Cup stage - and he intends to grasp the opportunity with both hands. 

The Norwich City striker landed in Qatar on Monday ahead of the USA's first game against Wales next Monday with Gregg Berhalter preferring the 22-year-old ahead of other striking options in his final selection last week. 

After a year away from the international scene due to a tough debut year with the Canaries that culminated in a painful relegation, Sargent arrived back to pre-season in the summer with a renewed sense of purpose. 

Sargent has timed his run to Qatar perfectly. He bounces into the tournament with a real confidence established through his domestic football with the Canaries. 

No player in the Championship has scored more goals than Sargent in the opening 21 games. The forward has the best minutes per goal ratio in the entire division. 

That graft has been about self-improvement but also with one eye on being selected for the World Cup. After a year away, Sargent was determined to work his way back into Berhalter's selection thoughts. 

“It’s what any kid dreams of, so it's pretty amazing,” he said after discussing his call up.

“That was obviously a very tough time when I wasn't being called in. I felt like I was doing everything I could.

“But as a player, that's all you can really do—is just work as hard as you can at your club, do what you can and it's [Berhalter’s] decision. And so if you're doing everything you can, you don't really have any time to hang your head about anything.

"I definitely felt like the whole time that there was still a chance to get called in."

A call-up in September ended his lengthy period away from the international set-up. 

Berhalter feels Sargent's inclusion in the squad will prove beneficial due to his experience of British football since arriving at Norwich, with the US preparing to face both England and Wales in the group stages. 

After a year away, Sargent is determined to make up for lost time and hopes the pressing qualities he has displayed at Norwich this season will help him be successful during the tournament. 

“I remember going into [September’s] camp and being like, ‘Oh, it's been a year already. I was surprised that it was so long. It didn't feel like that. But getting back into camp, I knew all the guys really well. So it wasn't hard to get back into the group.

“Being able to drop down and combine with the team, as a false nine almost, is important to [Berhalter] as well as scoring goals, obviously, for any striker.” Sargent told The Fresno Bee.

“So it’s just picking the right moments to do either one and then defensively at the same time, I think you have a big role in being the front line of the press and winning the ball back. I feel like I have all those qualities and I've been doing the same things with Norwich.”

Sargent's move to Norwich arrived after he suffered relegation from the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen. 

He was one of City's recruits during a record-spending transfer window that failed to keep the club in the Premier League. In an underperforming side, Sargent struggled to put his best foot forward. 

This season has helped him rediscover confidence but also comes at an important stage in his career. After two seasons of struggle, he is now displaying his talent. 

The Pink Un: Josh Sargent's experience coming up against Championship defenders gave him the edge over his US striking competition.Josh Sargent's experience coming up against Championship defenders gave him the edge over his US striking competition. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Limited)

Reflecting on his time in Norfolk, Sargent does feel the drop in divisions has aided his game, but also believes there has been a shift in mindset over the summer. 

“We were in a league that we knew we were going to struggle in,” Sargent said on his struggles last season.

“It wasn't going to be easy. I was playing right wing the whole season, so it was just kind of keeping my head down and working hard. But it wasn't a season where I really had the opportunity to get [going].”

“Going down a league to the Championship obviously helps. I'm not going to act like that doesn't have anything to do with it. But at the same time, being able to get off to a good start with a couple of goals and get my confidence going, I think my mentality has definitely changed a lot. 

“Playing against these type of players every three days in the Championship definitely helps give me a little bit of knowledge of how those players like to play. It’s a very physical league. The defenders especially—big guys, very physical.”

Sargent has worked tirelessly to achieve his American Dream of representing his country on the biggest footballing stage of them all - Norwich will take great pride that they helped push him in the right direction.