Friday, September 29, 2023

Scouting Prodigious Full-Back Calvin Bassey Who Signed For Rangers & How He Can Help Gerrard

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Bernard Ford
A Leicester City fan. Wants respect from the 'London based' media for clubs outside the bubble.

Last evening, Premiership club Rangers sprung a surprise on all of us as they announced that they had secured a pre-contract agreement with Leicester City full-back Calvin Bassey, formerly renowned as Calvin Ughelumba. The Italian-born defender has been a member of the Midlands club’s academy for quite a while now, and at 20, has the perfect mix of ability and potential to make an impact at the Ibrox Stadium. The defender is yet to nail down his national allegiance, with Italy, England, and Nigeria, all available options at this point.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard had a lot of nice things to say about his newest acquisition. He said on the club website, “There was a lot of clubs interested in Calvin and for us it’s pleasing to secure the services of another young talent. He’s a strong and dynamic athlete who is very much the modern-day full-back. He will develop further and we are excited to have made another strong addition to our group. We continue to look ahead to next season and Calvin is another positive addition as we continue to build the strength and depth of our squad.”

Scouting Prodigious Full-Back Calvin Bassey Who Signed For Rangers

How Has Calvin Bassey Made A Name For Himself At Leicester City? 

The 20-year-old left-back was promoted to the Foxes’ Premier League 2 side back in the summer of 2018, after which he’s become a regular in their academy team. Although he did miss the odd game along the way, the talent that Bassey possessed was apparent to see from day one. The defender had a fairly important part to play in the team this season as well, as the Foxes find themselves in 2nd place on the PL2 table, just three points off an unbeaten Chelsea side at the summit.

Rangers Announced The Calvin Bassey Acquisition - Bassey vying for the ball
LEICESTER, ENGLAND – MARCH 08: Calvin Ughelumba of Leicester in action with Shilow Tracy of Tottenham during the Premier League 2 match between Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur on March 08, 2019 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Altogether, the youngster has played in a little under 100 fixtures for the Foxes youth teams across various levels, which included four outings in the UEFA Youth League back in the 16/17 campaign, he was never in much limelight for some reason.

Since the 16/17 campaign, the defender’s stock has consistently been on the rise, and he’s deservedly received a proportionate increase in his playing time as well. Two seasons with the U-18 side were enough for Steve Beaglehole to call the speedster up to the U-23 setup, after which he’s gone on to respectively play 13 and 16 fixtures in PL2 over the last two seasons.

What Attributes Will Calvin Bassey Add To This Rangers Side? 

The wing-back’s ability to perfectly balance defending and attacking is arguably what has tempted the Gers to make a move for him this summer. Although Gerrard has described him as a proper modern-day full-back, it’s worth considering that Bassey doesn’t bombard forward at every possible instance. The youngster seems to have a strong understanding of what’s required in each varying situation, and this defensive awareness is a real asset to have in football these days.

The new Ibrox acquisition is a physically strong player who isn’t afraid to use brute force to win the ball back when solid positioning and general observation just won’t do. Physically strong and well-aware of his skill-set, Bassey is among a rare breed of defenders who isn’t desperate to win the ball back and is comfortable just ensuring that any avenues into the box are well covered. The 20-year-old’s height and stature make him a strong presence in the box while defending against set-piece situations as well.

Rangers Announced The Calvin Bassey Acquisition - Gerrard instructs Barisic during a match
LIVINGSTON, SCOTLAND – SEPTEMBER 30: Rangers manager Steven Gerrard gives instruction to Borna Barisic during the Ladbrokes Premiership match between Livingston and Rangers at Livingston on September 30, 2018 in Livingston, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Although the youngster doesn’t necessarily overlap on every opportunity he gets, when he does go forward, the Leicester man usually ensures that he provides the desired effect. A good crosser from wide, Bassey is sure to provide good cover in a position that been a concern for the Rangers over the last couple of seasons. Another critical aspect of his game is aggression, and while the speedster did pick up two straight red cards during the 18/19 campaign, it’s evidently something that he’s been working very hard on since that point.

What Holes In The Rangers Side Would Calvin Bassey Fill? 

The Gers have what is undoubtedly among the strongest squads in the entire Premiership, but one of their main problem areas over the last two campaigns has been at left-back. Borna Barisic has been Steven Gerrard’s only natural option in the left-back role for a while now, and midfielder Andy Halliday and right-back Jon Flanagan were being utilised as cover to the Croatian. With Halliday and Flanagan now set to depart, the addition of a young left-back makes complete sense for the Ibrox side.

Rangers Announced The Calvin Bassey Acquisition: What Should The Gers Fans Expect From Him? 

At 20-years-old, the Leicester City man offers Steven Gerrard’s side massive scope for development. At the same time, he also possesses the quality required to make a name for himself in the first-team picture immediately. Beating out Borna Barisic to the first-choice role might not be the most straightforward task for a player who’s never appeared in a top-flight game before, but he’s sure to give the Croatian a run for his money throughout the campaign. All things considered, this must be classed as an impressive coup by Steven Gerrard’s side, in a position that really needed to be addressed as well. All in all, for a development fee only, this is some coup for Gerrard and Rangers.

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