Kees Kwakman and Kenneth Perez saw Calvin Bassey during Ajax-NEC make a good turn. The defender was put in the base by John Heitinga, so that Edson Álvarez came to play in midfield.
Analyst Kwakman says he has often emphasized Bassey’s skills on the ball in the past. According to him, it did not look good several times. On Sunday, however, he saw the Ajax player distinguish himself in a different way. “He did really well defensively today,” he added This was the Weekend. ‘It was also a change for him to suddenly have to defend at Ajax. It’s done in a completely different way.’
Furthermore, the former footballer saw on Sunday that Bassey was not only able to tackle with his stronger left leg. Kwakman himself was also a left-footed defender and he noticed that Bassey can also do it with his lesser right leg. ‘He is left-footed and then you often tackle with your good leg. He often has long strides, which allows him to grab the ball with his right. He was really good defensively.’
‘When he got the ball, you could tell he thought: oh no, what am I going to do now? That’s a matter of how you can let a player play in his weakness’, Perez then adds. ‘Heitinga didn’t do it every time either, because he took him out of the base a few times. It came in, it was taken out, and then it was put back in.”
‘Use Bassey in his power’
There’s been a lot of talk lately about Bassey’s confidence, but Perez says it’s more than just that. ‘It is also using him in his strength. Let him play one-on-one against the attacker, because he has plenty of speed and physicality. But give him the ball every time and let him find the solution and then we say again: he can’t do anything about it.’