Should Bassey continue at centre-back after his display in 10-0 rout of Sao Tome and Principe?
After a resounding 10-0 victory over Sao Tome and Principe in which the Super Eagles recorded their biggest ever international win, Nigeria has continued to impress in competitive matches under new Portuguese manager Jose Peseiro.
The Super Eagles controlled the game in every facet of play with the goals scored by Victor Osimhen, Terem Moffi, Oghenekaro Etebo, Ademola Lookman, Emmanuel Dennis, and Moses Simon.
Peseiro made several changes to his tactical set-up along with his starting line-up. However, one surprising change he made was to play Calvin Bassey in replacement of the injured Troost Ekong while Kenneth Omeruo was available.
Also worth noting is that he replaced Ekong against Sierra Leone with Omeruo.
Bassey had a brilliant performance at centre-back during the game. He was extremely effective with the timing of his passes, he demonstrated remarkable strength to fend off opponents and most importantly, he showed outstanding composure when under pressure.
His control and agility when driving the ball forward as top-notch but as highly as Bassey performed, a big question arises.
Should he be kept at centre-back due to this performance? Allnigeriasoccer takes a balanced view of this.
Bassey is highly versatile, technical, pace and powerful. He also possesses a wicked cross that even the most seasoned professional centre-backs need to calculate again before intervening.
However, at centre-back, most of these qualities will be limited. He won’t have the license to bomb forward to influence attacking sequences.
Peseiro is a highly attacking manager and knows how to maximise the width of his team. He won’t want to be deprived of Bassey’s abilities on the flanks.
Zaidu Sanusi is a good left-back who is quite capable of stepping in if needed but he offers nowhere near the effectiveness and variety of options Bassey provides on the attack.
He is a better defender on the flanks though but Peseiro has shown that he is an attacking manager and such managers will always prioritise attacking over defending.
Another rare trait Bassey offers is the ability to underlap and overlap effectively. Most full-backs offer overlaps where they move past their winger to stretch the pitch and create more space.
Bassey on the other hand can underlap, thus taking the opposition defensive midfielder inwards and letting his winger get an isolation situation against the opposition full-back.
While Bassey is great as a full-back, his set of skills are more valuable at full-back/wing-back in modern football and allnigeriasoccer thinks he should remain there regardless of his performance at centre-back.