Americans Abroad: Feyenoord Coach comments on what Cole Bassett needs to do to start

Cole Bassett

ROTTERDAM – Cole Bassett joined Feyenoord Rotterdam on loan three months ago this week. He’s made three appearances for the first team, all as a substitute. Bassett did impress with the Under-21 team. With one month left in the season, what does he need to do to get more playing time? Last Word spoke to Feyenoord manager Arne Slot after the Willem II match to gain context [1].

Americans Abroad: Arne Slot comments on what Cole Bassett needs to do to start at Feyenoord

Bassett has been on the bench for every league match since the start of February. He has not made the squad for any Europa Conference League games as he not eligible [2]. He played in one U-21 game in which he started, played 45 minutes, and scored a goal back on February 12.

“I’m not sure he has to do much more. He has strong competition at his position with Guus Til who is an international for Holland and Jens Toornstra,” Slot told Last Word in English.

“What we see from him now is what we saw from him in America. He has a very good character, a lot of fighting spirit, a lot of running, a lot of times that comes inside [the box] similar to Toornstra and Til.”

Slot thinks he’s good enough to be in the 18. Bassett arrived in the Netherlands very fit. It’s a good sign that he’s making the bench for the first team rather than being out of the squad but playing regularly for the U-21s. But he’s competing for minutes with a veteran in Toornstra and Til who is about to enter his prime at 24-years-old. Til is on loan from Spartak Moscow till the end of the year.

“What he has to improve in my opinion is his ability to play in small spaces. His technique is quit ok when he has time but when there’s not so much time and the spaces are quit small, he should improve,” Slot elaborated.

This was a criticism of Bassett during his time at Colorado Rapids. He’s struggled with possession under pressure. Take a look at this goal conceded to Minnesota United back in 2020, where he turns the ball over to start the sequence. Bassett is not bad in possession for his age or position in the Eredivisie. He’s just not as good as Til and Toornstra. Toornstra did pick up an injury and was seen on crutches after the Europa Conference League Quarterfinal. This could mean an opportunity for Bassett to get into the starting lineup.

The fact that he immediately got a spot on the bench is a good sign. He’s in a good environment to learn and grow. USMNT, Colorado Rapids, and Feyenoord fans should not be worried about his progress just yet. It was going to take a month or two for him to get settled. Let’s see what he can do with a month left in the season, small spaces and all.

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[1] Feyenoord won that game 2-0 on April 2. Bassett subbed on after the second goal and played one minute plus stoppage time. See the highlights here. He’s played five minutes for the first team

[2] You find the UEFA’s player eligibility rules here. Bassett was not eligible for the January 23 Eredivisie match, meaning he probably was not registered by the deadline to play in European competition this spring.