QPR boss hails Bassey’s UCL debut


Peter Akinbo

Ahead of a potential second UEFA Champions League appearance for Nigeria international, Calvin Bassey, Queens Park Rangers boss Michael Beale has congratulated the Aston Villa transfer target on his UCL debut for Ajax last week.

Beale, who left his role as assistant head coach at Villa this summer to pursue his first role in management in the Championship with QPR, worked with Bassey at Rangers after the defender was brought to Scotland by Steven Gerrard in 2020 from Leicester City.

The 22-year-old defender went from strength to strength after signing for the Scottish side, and impressed especially in the Europa League for Rangers, which eventually led to defeat in the final against German side Eintracht Frankfurt. Following his strong showings, Bassey was heavily linked with a move to Villa Park to work with Gerrard once again. However, the Premier League side were quoted a figure in the region of £25m for the player which stalled the progress in talks.

Bassey went on to secure a transfer worth £20m to Netherland giants, Ajax in July, with the Nigerian international going on to make his Champions League debut last week against his former side, Rangers in a 4-0 win at the Johan Cruyff Arena.

Beale took to his personal Twitter account to congratulate Bassey on his Champions League debut last week. He said, “A wonderful person and footballer. Enjoy every second Calvin Bassey you have worked so hard to play in the CL and to reach the level of performance you are showing.”

The 23-year-old has been a regular for the Eredivisie defending champions since joining from Rangers and has helped his new club keep five consecutive clean sheets.

The versatile defender also played a crucial role as his team hammered Heerenveen 5-0 on Saturday with Ghana international Mohammed Kudus grabbing a brace while the other goals came from Davy Klaassen, Kenneth Taylor and Brian Brobbey.

Bassey had an injury scare in the game against Heerenveen but Ajax manager, Alfred Schreuder has cleared the doubts and Ajax named the defender in their travelling squad for their Champions League fixture against Liverpool on Tuesday