Rangers’ Calvin Bassey on ‘being brave’, learning from mistakes and the prospect of facing Erling Haaland

Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland could be back in action for the second leg of the Europa League tie against Rangers at Ibrox next week. (Photo by Alexander Scheuber/Getty Images)

The prolific Norwegian striker was clearly missed by Borussia Dortmund in Germany on Thursday night as they were left reeling by a superb Rangers display in the first leg of the Europa League knockout round play-off tie.

Bassey was one of the stand-out performers for the Scottish champions, the 22-year-old defender rising to the occasion as he helped secure their memorable 4-2 win.

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As Haaland battles back from the injury which saw him sidelined for the first leg, his potential return will clearly be crucial to the Bundesliga side’s hopes of overturning the deficit in Glasgow.

Rangers defender Calvin Bassey (right) challenges Jude Bellingham of Borussia Dortmund during the Europa League knockout round play-off match in Germany on Thursday. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

But however threatening Haaland’s presence might be from Rangers’ perspective, Bassey insists he would relish the opportunity to pit his wits against the player who has scored 23 goals in 20 games for Dortmund this season.

“Of course, you always want to test yourself against the best,” said Bassey. “Obviously, he is one of the best strikers in the world without a doubt. You want to see how you do against these sort of players.”

It may be a stock reply but there can be no doubting Bassey’s willingness to learn and improve.

Primarily signed as left-back cover for Borna Barisic when he joined Rangers from Leicester City two years ago, he has played more often in central defense this season due to the injury issues experienced by the more experienced duo of Leon Balogun and Filip Helander.

He admits he has been far from error-free at the heart of Rangers’ back four but is comfortable with his rate of development and the strength of the partnership he has formed with Connor Goldson.

“It’s just moments, you’ll always have moments in a game where things aren’t going right and it’s about how you deal with them,” he said.

“You’re always going to make mistakes but it’s how you deal with them and move on. If you make a mistake in the fifth minute you still have 85 to redeem yourself.

“It’s about trying to block that out, persevere and work hard. When you get those moments when you might be on the edge or under the cosh, it’s about coming through it stronger and we did that in Dortmund.

“I just want to play – every game, I want to be involved wherever I play. At centre-back, you need more communication and it sort of starts with you on the ball, if you can beat the first press, you’ve got the responsibility of setting the tone for the team in terms of beating the press and being brave .

“If me and Connor Goldson are brave, it goes throughout the team and everyone then wants to play. Left-back is more physically demanding, you’re up and down to attack and defend.

“You always want to be involved in the biggest games. For us, every game is a big game – I know it’s a cliche, but it’s true because playing for a team like Rangers you can’t accept anything less.

“Thursday was an amazing night and I’m just happy we delivered.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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