The Nigeria international was on the books of the English Premier League side but never made an appearance for their senior club
Super Eagles defender Calvin Bassey has pointed out that the desire to leave his comfort zone and embrace a new challenge abroad was the primary reason he switched from Leicester City to Glasgow Rangers two and a half years ago.
One of Leicester City’s brightest youngsters in the U23s, Bassey was on the brink of making his breakthrough with the senior team at Vicarage Road when an opportunity to join Rangers presented itself in 2020.
Despite manager Brendan Rodgers’ pleas for Bassey to stay back with the Foxes, the young full-back moved to the Ibrox under the guidance of former Liverpool icon Steven Gerrard.
Bassey became a key figure for Rangers with the arrival of Dutch manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst, showing his versatility as a wing-back, fullback, and centre-back.
The Nigeria international helped Rangers reach the final of the Europa League and lift the Scottish Cup before sealing a club-record transfer to Ajax Amsterdam in the summer.
What has been said?
The 22-year-old is the first to admit that all these would not have been possible if he had stayed back in the familiar environment in Leicester.
“I didn’t realise how big a club it is until I got there. It is ruthless,” Bassey told the Telegraph.
“A lot of people asked me why I was going there. The manager at Leicester liked me and wanted to know why I wanted to leave. I was so in my comfort zone at Leicester. Rangers gave me the opportunity to step out of that comfort zone and it also helped me to grow up as a player and a man.
“I went from being one of the best U23s, training with the first team and being comfortable, then into the changing room with bigger personalities than me, older grown men. For them, it’s not just a bit of fun. It is their livelihood and they take it seriously.
“Training wasn’t about going in and just having banter with the guys, it was about coming into training 15 minutes early and training hard every day to get better.
“They told me because I’m young so I had to give the most energy. You’re a kid, you shouldn’t even be on the massage bed! It is banter but there is truth there.”