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Sports News of Sunday, 22 January 2023


100% convinced - Ajax boss reveals two reasons Calvin Bassey will become very good like Tottenham defender

Calvin Bassey Calvin Bassey

The Nigeria international is arguably the most criticised player in the Netherlands following his mega move from Rangers last summer

Ajax Amsterdam manager Alfred Schreuder has backed Nigerian defender Calvin Bassey to weather the present storm of criticism and emerge a better player afterwards.

Calvin Bassey has not had it easy in the Netherlands since he joined Ajax from Glasgow Rangers in July in a record €23 million move.

The Super Eagles defender was one of the most highly-rated stars in the Europa League last term, helping Rangers reach the final of the competition for the first time in a decade.

He has, however, been treated like a messy schoolboy since he switched to the Eredivisie, with many – including former Real Madrid midfielder Wesley Snijder – questioning his ability.

To make matters worse, Ajax have been poor on the continent and domestically, with the Dutch champions crashing out of the UEFA Champions League and losing ground in the Eredivisie title race.

But Ajax tactician Schreuder has shown staunch support for Bassey, preferring the 23-year-old to other options at centre-back and left-back in different instances.

What has Schreuder said?

Schreuder admits that the Bassey criticisms have not been way off the mark. But the head coach insists Bassey possesses two qualities – his mentality and hard work – that show he can become as dependable as Colombian defender Davinson Sanchez, who left Ajax for Tottenham Hotspur after scoring seven goals in 44 matches.

“I understand the criticism,” Schreuder told the Telegraaf.

“But because of his mentality and the way he deals with it, we are 100 percent convinced that he will soon be a very good player for us. He may not become Frank de Boer. But a Davinson Sanchez, someone with power who can play in a big league.”

Bassey has made 14 league appearances for Ajax, scoring one and assisting two. The Leicester City academy product will look to make his impact felt when Ajax make the trip to face Feyenoord on Sunday, January 22.