3 minute read
11/2/2022 | 05:25pm
Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst has enjoy a largely successful return to Ibrox since arriving as manager after playing for the club earlier in his career.
He has only lost one match in all competitions since taking over from Steven Gerrard and has guided the Gers into the knockout stages of the Europa League, where they will face Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund later this month.
The head coach made a few additions to the squad in the January transfer window to stamp his own mark on the team, but a decision he made in his first game may be the best one he has taken so far.
Van Bronckhorst opted to select Calvin Bassey at centre-back in his first match – against Sparta Prague at Ibrox – and he has pulled off a masterstroke with the former Leicester enforcer in recent months.
Where is Bassey’s best position?
At the time of the Dutchman’s arrival as Gers boss, Bassey was valued at £360k by Transfermarkt. This was down from the £450k at which he was rated in January 2021 under Steven Gerrard, suggesting that the ex-Feyenoord coach picked him up at a low point in his Gers career.
He was behind Borna Barisic at left-back and also watching on as Leon Balogun and Connor Goldson started in the middle, but Van Bronckhorst pulled off a masterstroke by opting to go with him as a central defender after a knock for Balogun opened up a spot at the back.
Instead of going with natural centre-back Jack Simpson or looking to recall Nikola Katic in January, the head coach placed his faith in Bassey.
Shortly after joining the club, Van Bronckhorst heaped praise on the way the Nigerian adapted to his new position, saying: “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.
“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.”
Leicester City’s under-23 manager Steven Beaglehole previously dubbed Bassey “phenomenal” and that is what the defender has been for the most part since the Dutchman came in. Rangers kept seven clean sheets in nine games after Van Bronckhorst picked Bassey at centre-back alongside Goldson, with the 22-year-old achieving a SofaScore rating of 7.0 or higher in seven of those matches.
At the time of writing (11/02/22), Transfermarkt value him at £900k. This is a whopping 150% increase within the space of around six months, showing that he has turned his Gers career around and is now on an upwards trajectory since his switch to centre-back. Therefore, his development has been a masterstroke from his manager, and hopefully he will continue to blossom.
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