African All Stars

Rangers and Nigeria’s Bassey has everything for a modern defender - Van Bronckhorst

08:46 WAT 11/12/2021
Rangers and Nigeria defender Calvin Bassey.
The former Arsenal defender is happy to see the 21-year-old Super Eagle fit in well in his new central role for the Gers at Ibrox

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst has tipped defender Calvin Bassey to show his skills in the centre of defence for the Scottish giants.

The 21-year-old Nigeria international was playing as a left-back for the Gers under Steven Gerrard, who left to handle Aston Villa in the Premier League.

With the arrival of the former Arsenal defender at Ibrox, Bassey was moved to central defence in the absence of injured Nigeria defender Leon Balogun and Filip Helander and he has gone ahead to play in every match and this has caught the eye of the new manager.

Ahead of the team’s away game against Hearts at Tynecastle Park on Sunday, Van Bronckhorst has listed Bassey’s strong physique as among the attributes that set him apart and insisted the young defender will leave a mark in his new role.

“I haven’t seen him play a lot as a left-back. I saw some footage but in my five games here he has played as a central defender. I’m really happy with him, he’s got everything for a modern defender,” Van Bronckhorst told the media as quoted by Rangers Review.

“He’s very quick, he’s good in the air, physically he’s very strong and we are just working with him on his build-up play.

“He’s a very good kid and like Nathan [Patterson] he’s open to learn new things, to be better every game.”

Meanwhile, Van Bronckhorst has stated he does not want to comment on the team losing African players for the Africa Cup of Nations set to kick off in Cameroon from January 6 to February 9.

Rangers are among the clubs in Europe that will be affected as they will lose up to four players among them – Nigeria’s Joe Aribo, Bassey, Balogun, and Zambia forward Fashion Sakala.

“We are aware of the African Nations Cup in January, but for now we have to focus on the upcoming matches,” Van Bronckhorst said as quoted by the club’s social media pages. “My main focus is to get three points in every game with Rangers.

“The principles I want the team to show every game, they have picked up and have been open to picking up new ideas. We have a nice atmosphere within the team, it is a very competitive squad and we have a good balance.”

Rangers are topping the Scottish table with 39 points from 16 matches while Hearts are third on 30 points from 17 outings.