Bassey de­ter­mined to make his mark wher­ever he plays

Lat­est Rangers re­cruit says he can fill in

Evening Times - - FOOTBALL - MARK HENDRY

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.