Bassey determined to make his mark wherever he plays
Latest Rangers recruit says he can fill in
WHEN news broke that Nikola Katic had suffered a cruciate injury during pre-season, Rangers immediately set about identifying potential replacements for the centre-half.
Filip Helander and George Edmundson are both in the ranks already and will attempt to lay claim to the empty slot alongside Connor Goldson at the heart of the Ibrox club’s defence. But new signing Calvin Bassey is also ready to step in and show his new manager that he is up to the task, despite preferring to play his football at left-back.
The former Leicester City youngster can play in the centre as well as on the flank and he is more than willing to do whatever it takes to force his way into Steven Gerrard’s starting XI. That means he’s ready to step into Katic’s boots to fill the void with a lot at stake for his new club this season.
Playing alongside Goldson or Helander might also be his best opportunity for game time, too, considering first-choice left-back Borna Barisic’s performances last term. The Croatian played 39 games in all competitions for Rangers last season and enjoyed a rich vein of form, establishing himself as one of the first names on Gerrard’s team sheet. So, perhaps, he’d be a tough one to shift. But Bassey will leave that up to the manager.
“I prefer left-back but I’m here to do a job anywhere,” Bassey said. “Wherever the gaffer decides to put me I’ll make sure I’m giving 100 percent and doing as best as I can. I don’t mind playing centre-back but I hope Niko gets better as soon as possible and I wish him all the best.
“It’s all up to the gaffer, we’re working hard in training so whatever team the gaffer decides to put out we’ll respect it and work to the next game to try and get in. If I do play centre-half I’ll be happy and give it my all.
“You just have to get on with it in a game. If the gaffer tells you to play striker you’re not going to complain and say ‘why am I playing striker’. You just need to do your best and get on with it. Obviously your teammates are always going to help you if your position’s not right. You just have to get on with it and work hard.
“I’ve seen Nikola around, had a chat with him and wished him all the best. He’s quite a big figure, you can’t miss him. Hopefully it’s not too big a miss without him.
“Borna is a great player, a great professional as well and he’s someone I’m looking to learn from. As long as I can bring what I’ve got to the table and try to battle him, really. I’m always going to work hard in training so it’s up to the gaffer and you have to respect his decision.”
Bassey is a strong, quick player and models his style after Bayern Munich defender Alphonso Davies. Not that he would ever compare himself to the Canadian. No, Bassey is happy being himself and has made a career – albeit still in its infancy – out of doing his own thing, working hard and performing well.
It’s the same reason he has no fears about making the step up from under-23s football with the Foxes to first-team action at Ibrox. He is confident in his own abilities. What has helped, though, is the support he has already received from his new team-mates and he says he is already gelling with the core of the group.
“I felt when I was younger Marcelo was a great player but I think football has changed a lot and you see the likes of Alphonso Davis, a young player, dynamic, strong,” he added.
“Football has changed a lot. It is all about adapting and I think Davies is a great player. I watch other players and learn from them but I would never say I want to be like someone because at the end of the day everyone’s different.
“Rangers is a massive club and I always knew there were going to be expectations.
“I’ve always had expectation, I’ve been doubted but I haven’t been in an academy since
I was nine years old so I’ve always had pressure on me.
“This is a different type of pressure but it’s similar to what I’ve been through. I’ve never had anything easy so I don’t expect anything to come easy to me.”
I have always had pressure on me