Forget Barisic: Rangers must trust “outstanding” ace who makes 1.5 tackles per game – opinion
Steven Gerrard must trust Glasgow Rangers left-back Calvin Bassey to fill the void left by Borna Barisic’s potential injury, when the Light Blues face Livingston at Ibrox in their first game in the Scottish Premiership since the Old Firm derby.
Gerrard’s side suffered an injury blow as Barisic limped off in the 2-0 win over Standard Liege in the Europa League just before the break. He got up gingerly to his feet and managed to walk to the sidelines, but he appeared to be suffering some discomfort.
Barisic has become a mainstay in the first team ever since he arrived at the Ibrox outfit, with the left-footed defender making 10 appearances in the Scottish Premiership this season. The Rangers boss’ trust has been repaid as the Croatia international has scored a goal and supplied four assists so far, via Transfermarkt. And Gerrard confirmed he is a doubt for the clash with Livingston.
He said: “My only concern at the moment is Barisic. I’d say he’s a doubt right now. We’re going to image him as a precaution this afternoon. It’s not a big problem. There’s a chance he could pull through but we’ll check it out this afternoon.”
Should Calvin Bassey start instead of Borna Barisic against Livingston?
If the rumours are true and Gerrard is forced to ring a change, the Liverpool legend must look to hand Bassey his first start for the club since the 5-1 win over Motherwell last month, having been impressed by his “outstanding” performance against Standard Liege on Thursday night.
Bassey has shown he is hungry to learn and develop as a player, which is something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Gerrard, who admitted the 20-year-old has given him a lot to think about for the weeks ahead.
“I thought he was outstanding. For someone who has very little experience. To come into a game of that level and perform like he did. I’m really proud of his performance,” Gerrard said, via Glasgow Live.
“Fantastic kid. A kid who wants to learn, who wants to grow and evolve. In time we’re confident we can help polish him up and make him even better than he is.
“He’s got really interesting attributes right now and he showed them last night which was fantastic to see.
“He’s in a real good place and he’s ready. That’s the key thing. Every time he’s been called upon since he walked in he’s been ready and he’s produced.”
Gerrard has lots of reasons why fans should be excited by Bassey’s performances in the domestic and European competitions. Per SofaScore, he has averaged 1.5 tackles per game in the Scottish Premiership this season so far. By contrast, Barisic is only managed 0.8 tackles per game in the Scottish top flight, via SofaScore.
SofaScore also gave Bassey a high grade of 7 for his efforts against Standard Liege – he made two tackles, one clearance and one interception, whilst he also won five out of his seven duels and wasn’t dribbled past at all – a measure of his defensive strength.
Despite his young age, the Englishman is already showing glimpses of his obvious potential, which is exactly what his former teammate at Leicester City, James Maddison, was talking about when he first moved to Ibrox in the summer. The England international wished him good luck on his official Instagram post and described him as “some player.”
Now, he just needs to be playing regularly in order to continue his development. What better way to show what you can do than by stepping in for Barisic against Livingston?
AND in other news, Glasgow Rangers striker Kemar Roofe steals the show against Standard Liege…
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, FootballFanCast.com reports