NIGERIAN leftback Calvin Bassey made his competitive debut for Scottish Premiership side Glasgow Rangers over the weekend featuring in the side’s 3-0 home victory over St Mirren Ibrox Stadium.
Bassey, 20, who recently joined Glasgow Rangers from English Premier League side Leicester City, recently pledged his international future to Nigeria. Eligible to play for both England and Nigeria, he has said he will honour a Super Eagles invitation when called up and is hoping that head coach Gernot Rohr will be monitoring his progress.
While at Leicester, Bassey often trained with the first team but was not included in any matchday squad during his time with the club. Only two games into the Scottish season, however, he has seen action, coming on for the last 11 minutes of Saturday’s match, nearly getting a goal too but he was denied by a save from St Mirren goalkeeper Alnwick.
On Saturday, Rangers thus featured three Nigerians and Leon Balogun played the full 90 minutes and Joe Aribo also started but came off towards the end. Rangers B Team coach Kevin Thomson, has named Balogun as his standout player in the 3-0 win.
Rangers are one of the two teams yet to concede in the new Scottish Premiership season and as a result they are second in the table with six points, only because Hibernian who have an identical goal difference have scored more goals. Despite missing a large chunk of pre-season training, Balogun began his Rangers career as one of the fittest players in the squad as he was active for his previous club Wigan Athletic in July.
Before Sunday’s game, former Liverpool and Celtic manager Kenny Dalglish, had expressed confidence in Balogun’s ability to help toughen Steven Gerrard’s side in their bid to wrestle the league title away from perennial champions Celtic. Dalglish showered encomium on Balogun for settling down early, adding that such performance laid credence to the fact that Rangers are on course for a successful campaign this season.
Dalglish said: “At the back, there appears to be no settling in period required for Balogun. He was very effective away to Aberdeen last week and helped the team to a clean sheet and looks like a real leader.”
Balogun signed a one-year contract with Rangers after he completed the season on a short-term contract with Wigan following a loan deal from Brighton & Hove Albion. Balogun who played 13 times for Wigan was included in the first Scottish Premier League team of the week after his solid performance against Aberdeen.