Ajax Amsterdam coach explains why Bassey started against NEC NijmegenPublished: March 05, 2023
Ajax Amsterdam coach John Heitinga has explained why Calvin Bassey was named in the starting lineup in the Eredivisie clash against NEC Nijmegen at the Johan Cruijff ArenA on Sunday.
The Nigeria international was one of the first names on the teamsheet in the first half of the season but lost his spot in the starting XI after the dismissal of Alfred Schreuder and the appointment of Heitinga.
Bassey was not named in the starting lineup in five league matches on the bounce before the visit of NEC Nijmegen.
Heitinga preferred Bassey to Kenneth Taylor against NEC, and another tactical decision saw Edson Álvarez moved back to midfield.
The former Rangers star was scapegoated for Ajax's poor run of results which led to the dismissal of Alfred Schreuder, but now fans and pundits are beginning to take notice of his defensive qualities.
"For today we choose this eleven. We look at a bit of balance, it's a tactical choice," Heitinga said on ESPN, via Footballtransfers just before the start of the game versus NEC.
"You look at the balance in your group, you certainly have that with the triangle of Bassey, Jurriën Timber and Álvarez.
"We have an attacking team, with guys who take a lot of risks in their game. Then you have to make sure you're in a good position."
With Bassey on the pitch, Ajax have not conceded in their last seven consecutive matches in the Eredivisie and KNVB Cup.
Photo Credit : ajax.nl
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