Nigeria international defender Calvin Bassey, who joined Ajax last summer for a large sum of money, has spoken out about his frustration at being left on the bench.
Bassey’s first season at Ajax has been turbulent, with a change of coach putting pressure on his position in the team.
Under former coach Alfred Schreuder, Bassey was a regular starter but faced criticism often. However, when John Heitinga took over, the defender was relegated to the reserve bench.
In an interview with De Telegraaf as per Soccernews, Bassey admitted feeling frustrated with the situation.
“Of course, there is a little bit of frustration,” Bassey said. “But sometimes you just have to sit down and learn.
“Then you can realize what your game is missing. That’s what the manager also said: look at how Edson Alvarez and Jurriën Timber do when they are central on the left.”
However, Bassey also acknowledged that Heitinga had been clear in his expectations and had allowed him to work on improving his game. Bassey confessed he has been studying video footage with assistant coach Dwight Lodeweges to identify areas for improvement.
The Super Eagles defender believes that he needs time to adjust to Ajax’s style of play, which requires more than just defensive contributions. He believes he can bring power and speed to the team and is eager to learn from his teammates.
The extra work Bassey is putting in appears to be paying dividends already.
Heitinga returned Bassey to the starting lineup in Ajax’s last two games against De Graafschap and NEC Nijmegen, with the club keeping clean sheets in both games.
Bassey is also in the starting eleven as Ajax trade tackles with Heerenven on Sunday.