CALVIN BASSEY insists he has no regrets snubbing the English Premier League for Ajax despite a nightmare start to his career in Amsterdam.

The former Rangers defender was immense for the Ibrox side last season in their impressive run to the Europa League Final, which they lost on penalties to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Nigerian international Bassey was also strongly linked with a move to Brighton, but he revealed his mind was made up as soon as Ajax confirmed their interest in him and they eventually paid £19 million for him.

He was sent off on his debut and is now serving a two-match ban, but that hasn't dimmed his enthusiasm for signing for the Dutch champions.

Bassey recalled: "I was doing pre-season with Rangers and focussing on the new season and getting in shape. Then I was told by my agent that the great Ajax wanted me!

"I didn't count on anything. Many things can go wrong in transfers and there was interest from other clubs too. But when I saw how hard Ajax were working to sign me, I got really excited.

"I discussed it with my family and tried to keep calm even though I was very excited about the move because it's only completed when everything is signed.

"Returning to England might have been the safest option for me and of course, I know the language and the Premier League is a great competition. But it did not outweigh my desire to move to Ajax.

"I am grateful to Rangers for everything and very happy that I can play now for Ajax.

"It's been overwhelming since I arrived. Ajax feels like one big family to me. The way I was received by the players and the people around the team immediately felt very good.

"They helped me with everything. This is very important for a new player in a new country. The Dutch guys help me, but also the other foreign players.
"Of course, they know what is involved and have already experienced what is new about Ajax or the Netherlands. The language, culture, customs, you name it.

"Every year you see new young players playing for Ajax in the Champions League, each and every one of them talents who are getting better and better. That development appeals to me and here I can play for trophies, watch myself grow and play with all good players around me."

And Bassey admits he's come a long way since he almost quit football in 2015.

He said: "It was only seven years ago that I considered giving up football.

"I was 15, it was summer and I didn't have a professional club. In those years I played in London for various amateur teams and played a lot of street football. For me football was everything.

"My mother insisted that I should do my best in school, that was my future. I did, I followed all the lessons with interest, but once I got out of school I grabbed the ball and I was on my way. But as much as I wanted to be a footballer, I had less and less faith in it.

"I had already resigned myself to the fact that that opportunity would never come again. I decided to focus even more on school and to stop playing football at a club, until that summer suddenly a message came from Leicester City that they had seen me play and they wanted to give me a chance.

"Finally, my dream of becoming a professional football player came closer."