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Soccer News of Monday, 6 March 2023


'I was studying on the bench'- Bassey on MOTM performance against Nijmegen

Calvin Bassey Calvin Bassey

Super Eagles defender Calvin Bassey has revealed that sitting on the bench helped him improve his game and learn Ajax’s style of play.

Bassey became the third most expensive signing by Ajax after his €23million-transfer from Scottish club Rangers.

He arrived at a crucial time for Ajax because the team was going through a transition period after losing some of their best players and coach Erik Ten Hag.

With Bassey in defense, Ajax failed to win games. They were conceding goals but failed to score. Ex-Ajax players even advised former coach Alfred Schreuder to drop Bassey.

However, Schreuder kept faith in the 23-year-old. Unfortunately, he was sacked after a poor run of results.

Heitinga took over in late January. Since then, Bassey’s game time has reduced drastically. The former Rangers man has started only four of Ajax’s last ten games.

Bassey was named in the starting eleven for Ajax in their 1-0 victory over Nijmegen on Sunday. He had a superb game and he was rewarded with the Man of the match award.

Speaking after the game, he revealed that whilst he has not been satisfied with his lack of game time, he has used the period to learn from his teammates and improve on his game.

“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 defense.

“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.”

Ajax have won their last seven Eredivisie games and they are just three points behind leaders Feyenoord.

Bassey would hope that his performance against Nijmegen would be the start of good things for him at Ajax.