Ajax coach John Heitinga has rated Nigeria international Calvin Bassey a top professional, admitting that the club need him despite his recent lack of game time.
Following an impressive season with Glasgow Rangers, where he helped the club to the final of the Europa League last season, Bassey joined Ajax in a €23m transfer and became the third-most expensive signing for the Godenzonen.
The 2022/23 season has not really gone according to plans for the Dutch giants, with the Super Eagles defender often targeted by some of the club’s fans and ex-stars.
Under former manager Alfred Schreuder, Bassey was a regular starter and often played either as a centre-back or as full-back.
Bassey's recent lack of gametime
Following the sacking of Schreuder last month, after a series of poor results, Heitinga was appointed new manager and the Nigerian has seen little action ever since.
The 23-year-old defender has started only one game in Ajax’s last six games.
Despite the unfair criticism of the former Rangers man, Heitinga, in an interview with ESPN, said the Nigerian remained an integral part of the team.
“Calvin is a top professional. He comes from Glasgow and knows a different way of playing,” Heitinga told ESPN per football Scotland.
“In Holland, a lot is demanded of the ball and you play with a lot of space behind you.
“He can defend. We have to help him and make sure he has plenty of opportunities, but we know how long the rest of the season is. We are going to need him.”
Aluko on Osimhen: Everything he touches goes in
Former Chelsea women’s striker Eniola Aluko says Victor Osimhen is in sensational goalscoring form at the moment.
The former Lille forward netted the opener five minutes to the end of the first half, turning in Hirving Lozano’s fine cross to break the deadlock, taking his tally for the season to 20 goals in 24 matches across all competitions.
Reacting to Napoli’s opener, Aluko said on BT Sport, “You see straightaway as soon as they win the ball back, they are direct. You see Osimhen really attacks the box, gets into the box ahead of the defenders.
“Hirving Lozano great ball, inch-perfect ball and a good striker’s finish. Osimhen is on fire.
“Everything he touches is going in, 20th goal of the season. Brilliant goalscoring record so far this season.”
This article was most recently revised and updated 7 months ago