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Soccer News of Tuesday, 7 March 2023


Bassey speaks on his Man-of-The-Match display against Nijmegen

Calvin Bassey Calvin Bassey

Having dropped on the pecking order under John Heitinga, Calvin Bassey starred on his return to the starting eleven as Ajax beat NEC Nijmegen by a lone goal at the Johan Cruijff Arena on Sunday, March 5.

Bassey who became Ajax's third most expensive signing after joining the Amsterdam-based club for a fee of €23m from Scottish club Glasgow Rangers dropped to the bench at the turn of the year following the sacking of former Ajax boss Alfred Shreuder.

Speaking after dropping a decent performance in his first league start after six matches, the 23-year-old attributed his performance to his bench role which he believes has helped him learn from teammates and analyse the games better.

“Sometimes you have to sit back down and learn again,” Bassey said per Scottish Daily Express.

“I had to start doing extra work on the training pitch. I decided to start again. While I was on the subs’ bench, I studied the way the defenders played. I spent a lot of time watching how Jurrien Timber and Edson Alvarez positioned themselves when they were in my position in defence.

“Don’t get me wrong, I was frustrated when I wasn’t playing. But I knew it was not all about me, it was about the team and winning games.

“It actually helped to be on the bench for a while. For me, it is a process and a development curve. I know I can improve a lot here.

“The manager told me to be ready when I am needed next and I was. Ajax have taught me a lot about the game.

“That is also the reason why I chose this club. It’s one of the best places to develop as a player.”

Mohammed Kudus's 52nd-minute strike was enough to secure the much-needed three points for the defending champions as they keep the pressure on Feyenoord who sit at the apex of the League log.