FORMER Rangers full-back Maurice Ross has admitted he can understand why Giovanni van Bronckhorst has preferred Calvin Bassey to Borna Barisic this season and tipped the Nigerian internationalist to reach the very top of the game.
Bassey has been played extensively at both centre half and left back by Van Bronckhorst since the Dutchman replaced Steven Gerrard as manager at Ibrox back in November.
Croatian defender Barisic, who helped the Glasgow giants go undefeated in the Premiership last term and is popular with supporters, has admitted he has not been happy with his lack of game time in recent months.
However, Van Bronckhorst is likely to persevere with his team mate against Celtic in the Premiership this afternoon and in the Europa League quarter-final first leg match against Braga over in Portugal on Thursday night.
Ross is a huge admirer of Bassey, who got the nod over Barisic for both of the last 16 matches against Red Star Belgrade, and confessed that the 22-year-old reminds him of his former Rangers team mate Lorenzo Amoruso.
“I like a full-back to be athletic and hardy as well,” he said. “Calvin Bassey is both of them. Borna Barisic is a bit more one-paced. But even if you have two identical players, sometimes a manager just prefers one to the other. It is never cut and dried.
“But I like Calvin Bassey at left back. He is a talent and can probably go on and enjoy a big career. He has got a right good chance. He is physical specimen, he is quick, he is strong.
“If he gets beaten one-v-one he gets back in because he is powerful. If he is ever in a foot race his opponent has to go around him because of his stature, he can’t just run past him. He has such a long reach.
“If you think about it, the fastest way between two points is a straight line. If a player has to go around you because of your frame you have a better chance of winning that ball.
“It was the same with big Amo. In a race for the ball, his opponent would have to go around him. He would nudge into them because he was so strong and by that time he had won the ball back. It is similar with Bassey.”
Ross played with Rangers Hall of Fame members like Jorg Albertz, Amoruso, Barry Ferguson, Stefan Klos, Nacho Novo and Fernando Ricksen and believes current right back and captain James Tavernier deserves to be considered an Ibrox great.
“I don’t see what his leadership abilities are like day-to-day, but I always think the top players in the world lead by example, lead by doing, and he certainly does that,” he said.
“Look at the numbers he is churning out. They are incredible. There are players at Celtic and Rangers who are being touted with £10m and £20m transfers at the moment who can’t get close to the full- back’s stats, haven’t done have of what he has. He has done very well for Rangers and deserves his status as a top Rangers player.”