RANGERS boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst spoke to our man Derek Clark during the club’s pre-season training camp in Portugal.
Here’s what he had to say about Connor Goldson, Steven Davis and Allan McGregor signing contract extensions and the emergence of Calvin Bassey.
Connor Goldson, Steven Davis and Allan McGregor signed new contracts, how important was it to keep these lads given the experience they bring?
I think it’s very important because they are players who have played and have many years and experience for the club. I think you always have to have a good mix with experienced players, who know the club very well and what it means to be a Rangers player. We have a great group of players who will enter the prime of their careers and we have talented players who are coming through the academy. I think we have a good mix to develop older players.
How nice was it to hold Connor back?
Of course, it’s going to be more difficult the more players come to the end of their contract and Connor becomes a free agent. I think he was fantastic for the team last season and I was really happy that he chose to stay. Of course he had the option of going to another club and the Premier League is a big league for everyone. I also think Connor felt what he has now at Rangers, everything in his life too. I think in the end he wanted to continue his career here instead of going to another team and I’m happy because he is one of the pillars of this team.
How important could he be to someone like Calvin Bassey in helping him grow?
I think it’s a process you want as a coach. I am the manager, I am responsible for the process and the development of my players, but the more players involved in this process, especially the experienced guys who have played so many games at different levels, they will also help the guys. If we keep doing this, we get stronger as a team and talented players will develop. Of course, Calvin’s development last season was fantastic.
How good can Calvin Bassey get?
He can be very good. I always remember the first game we played at Hibs away and he had to come in because Leon left. He came in and the first action he had was pressing midfield and he’s a serious physical presence. The next day I saw him on the training ground and remembered this action and said to him “that’s what I want from you when you play”.
He did it in the Scottish Cup final with a minute left and he’s running through.
He is fantastic. He is a player at the start of his career but also a player open to coaching. He wants to develop and I hope we can have him here longer because I think his development needs to take a few more years before he reaches the level where he will be comfortable to join a new team.
It was the talk last season that he would be sold this summer, but you would like him to stay here and grow?
We never know. Of course, the potential he has is great, the potential also that a team will notice that he has. He came in, he’s very lively, he’s very energetic and happy. I think it’s good for him to keep going, to keep going and give his all to this team, which he’s done very well so far.
Does Calvin understand that he has more learning to do and that this is a good club for him and that he will make this move one day?
I had the same. I came here in 98 after the World Cup and had a good three years with Rangers, then moved on to Arsenal and the Premier League. I think that’s also a path that a lot of players will take. If you look at the team, Joe played for three years and we’ve now reached a level where I think he can reach another level by being involved in the strongest league in the world. We also have Kamara, who is talented and who came here. That’s also what you want and that’s what a successful team brings to Scotland.
I’m more than happy to help Calvin with his development and make sure he reaches a level where everyone will say “well the best thing for him is to move on”. They are all winners. The club is a winner because we have developed it and we will receive a transfer fee. And the player too, he will have a fantastic time here and then move on.