‘Bassey full of energy’ – Rangers’ boss Van Bronckhorst sings praise of Nigeria defender

Calvin Bissey of Nigeria and Rangers FC.Rangers.

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst has praised the performance of young defender Calvin Bassey.

The 21-year-old Nigeria defender has been in great form since replacing injured compatriot Leon Balogun in the Gers back four.

His solid display against Livingston in their Scottish Premiership fixture at Almondvale Stadium on Sunday helped the Gers to win 3-1 and stay on top of the table.

He was also impressive as Rangers scored two first-half goals to sink Sparta Prague 2-0 in their Group A fixture of the Europa League at Ibrox Stadium.

Following the win, Rangers are second in the group with seven points from five matches while Lyon are top with 15 points from five outings.

Speaking after the 3-0 win against Livingston, new manager Van Bronckhorst described the defender as full of energy with the physical ability to play in his current position.

“I've been really impressed with Calvin [Bassey] as he does not have a lot of experience in the central positions. He has a lot of physical strength and we will help him to develop and grow. He is very open to learning and is full of energy,” the former Arsenal defender said as quoted by the club’s social media pages.

“I think he has the physical ability to play there and we're helping him a lot in that position when he has to pass when he has to dribble, the position he has to take when the other defenders got the ball.

“He's a player who's very open in learning and he gives a lot of energy into the team. The last two games I'm really happy with the way he played."

Bassey has so far featured in five matches for Rangers – the 1-1 draw against Motherwell, 2-1 win against Hibernian, 1-1 draw against Hearts, 2-1 win against St. Mirren, and the 3-1 win against Livingston.

Last month, Bassey, who can play as a left-back or centre-back, was handed his maiden Nigeria call-up by coach Gernot Rohr for the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifying matches against Liberia and Cape Verde.

In a previous interview after earning the call, Bassey revealed it was his mother’s dream for him to play for the West Africa nation despite being eligible to play for Italy or England.

“My mother played a huge role in making me decide on playing for Nigeria,” Bassey said.

“It has been her dream and I am glad she is alive to see it come to pass. If all goes well, she will likely follow me to Nigeria to see me in the colours of the team she loves for the first time.”