Thursday, January 27, 2022

Former Coach Analyses This Rangers Defender’s Game: What Gerrard Must Do To Improve Him

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

In a recent interview with The Athletic, Leicester City U-23s manager Steve Beaglehole has shared his opinion on Rangers defender Calvin Bassey. The former Foxes academy prodigy joined the Gers last year on a Bosman for first-team minutes. It’s been a promising start so far for the Nigerian as he continues to flourish as the understudy to Borna Barisic.

“He’s quick as anything, which is a great attribute for a centre-back as there will be circumstances where he is the last man and you need that pace. But what it is with defenders who have got top pace is that they sometimes don’t work hard to get into positions early enough.”

Said Beaglehole who believes that the current left-back role is not the best position for the 21-year-old. Instead, he would fit in down the left-hand side of a three-man backline where he excelled during his five-year stint with Leicester reserves.

Rangers are well equipped across the pitch including the defensive third and Bassey has been rotated alongside Barisic for a starting status. Also, he has been deployed as a makeshift centre-half in the absence of Connor Goldson and Filip Helander. He is the fourth-choice behind Goldson, Helander and Balogun for the European fixtures as the gaffer decided not to include Jack Simpson in their Europa League squad.

Rangers defender Calvin Bassey in action
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – OCTOBER 24: Calvin Bassey of Rangers controls the ball during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premier League match between Rangers and Livingston at Ibrox Stadium on October 24, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images) The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) and Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/)

Bassey, meanwhile, has impressed with his pace, energetic runs, crosses and cut insides from the left. He has featured 8 times this season across competitions and registered a couple of assists in a League Cup tie against Dunfermline. The youngster played his part in the build-ups to many goals, however, his ball-playing ability is yet to be determined as he rarely featured in central defence.

Why Gerrard Needs To Tweak The Setup To Incorporate Bassey

Having said that, Beaglehole has spotted it right while analysing his sense of positioning. Bassey views himself as an attacking fullback, but he often struggles to recover the ground left behind when the opponents stage swift counter-attacks. His tackles are not decisive, also he needs to control his speed to show more composure and calmness with the ball at his feet.

Rangers 2020-21 league success was mostly due to their resilient defending. They only conceded 13 goals in 38 outings compared to this term’s 6 in 8 fixtures. Goldson has been a shadow of his earlier self, whereas persistent injury woes have refrained Gerrard from finding his best possible lineup. Although he is not known for experimenting with formations, a ‘back three’ would restore stability overcoming the current crisis. Bassey, as a left-sided centre-back, might finally settle in and cement a place week in week out.

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