Bassey’s talent, fitness thrills Blind



Ahead of Wednesday’s (today) UEFA Champions League fixture against Glasgow Rangers, Ajax defender Daley Blind has hailed Nigeria international Calvin Bassey for his understanding of the team’s style of play and his fitness since joining the club.

The 22-year-old joined the Dutch champions during the last transfer summer from the Scottish giants for £19m and has already left his new teammates impressed, having started their last three Eredivisie matches.

After missing the first two games following suspension, Bassey featured for 90 minutes as Ajax defeated Sparta Rotterdam 1-0, he was in action in the 2-0 win against FC Utrecht, as well as last Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing of Cambuur at the Johan Cruyff Arena, where he registered an assist.

In an interview with Daily Record, the former Manchester United defender was full of praises for the young defender.

He said, “Already we can see that Calvin (Bassey) is a big talent.

“We can see he is strong and enjoys the physical side of the game – but he is also comfortable on the ball and playing out from the back – and that is the style of football threat we try to play at Ajax.”

Blind further praised Rangers for the role they played in nurturing the Nigerian talent.

“Rangers must take credit for the player he is and his development,” Blind added.

“He is a young player still and as a young player it is so important where you can be at a club where you will play and where they obviously want to develop you – and Rangers was that club for him.

“Now he is at Ajax we hope his development can go up a level and he can become one of the best defenders in Europe.”

On whether Ajax have questioned Bassey on Rangers’ style of play ahead of their clash, Blind said, “Of course, we have spoken with him about the game against Rangers to help us prepare.

“He has only positive things to say about them – but all that will matter will be trying to win the game.

“With also Liverpool and Napoli in the group for me it is one of the toughest groups – that is why it is so important we try and get off to a good start against Rangers.”

Ajax and Rangers will face off at Johan Cruyff Arena in their Group A opener.