Rangers defender Calvin Bassey put in a masterclass of a performance on Wednesday night with several pundits claiming that plenty of top clubs will now be tracking him.
Eintracht Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp was officially named man of the match, but Bassey got many people’s vote with as sterling display. The 22-year-old put in a performance beyond his years. He was calm, dependable and almost unbeatable as Rangers drew 1-1 after extra-time before losing the Europa League final on penalties.
Bassey won seven of his 11 duels on the night, four of his five aerially, won possession back nine times, and made three interceptions.
Twice in extra-time he made two brilliant recovery runs when all before him were struggling with cramp.
“Calvin Bassey has been absolutely phenomenal,” Ally McCoist said on BT Sport. “He has been a colossus this evening.”
While Owen Hargreaves also heaped praise on the Nigeria star, who was in Leicester’s reserves two seasons ago.
Steven Gerrard signed the Italy-born defender on a four-year-deal in 2020 with Rangers paying training compensation to Leicester.
“Calvin Bassey, my word, what a performance,” Hargreaves told BT Sport.
“That was astonishing, the energy and effort. Everything about his game was fantastic.
“Anyone watching that will be thinking: ‘That’s the kind of player I want in my team’.”
‘Bassey has come so far, so quickly’
Rangers had taken the lead through Joe Aribo, before Rafael Borre equalised on 69 minutes. The game ended 1-1 after extra-time and Frankfurt won on penalties after Aaron Ramsey missed his spot-kick.
But it was Bassey who stole the show and Mark Hateley believes he will now be in demand.
“Bassey has come so far, so quickly,” former Rangers striker Hateley said on BBC Scotland’s Sportsound. “He’s established himself as a centre-half, wing-back, full-back. He’s put himself in a place right now where I imagine there’s a lot of clubs looking at him. And he’s still only 22-years-old. He has been outstanding.
“It was a tough game to watch to be quite honest, bitty and bobby, five minutes here and there, not many chances created.
“I think the temperature took its toll. It was not a game for the purist, put it that way.
“It’s a big disappointment for the football club, and for the supporters that have come all this way in their numbers, but on the up side, they are going into another final on Saturday to make things right.”