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Beni Baningime 54

The 18-year-old who has been with the Blues since he moved from the Democratic Republic of Congo as an eight-year-old. It is an acknowledgement of his impressively rapid progress which has seen him step up from the U18s, whom he helped win the Dallas Cup earlier this year, to become a regular in David Unsworth's U23 side after he signed a 2-year contract in 2016.

“I'm made up that I've got the contract,” Baningime told evertonfc.com. “I'd like to thank everyone; my family and the Academy coaches for all having faith in me.

“I'm happy with the way I have progressed. At the end of last season, I found my form and was playing well. It's carried on into this season and hopefully it continues even longer.

“I had no idea the contract was coming. I was surprised that I went away with the Under-23s in pre-season because I thought I would be with the Under-18s for most of this year. David Unsworth had faith in me and I'm delighted that it has paid off.”

Beni Baningime began to impress at Under-23 level as the new season got going, and must have caught the eye of the new first-team manager, Ronald Koeman, who surely approved the decision to give him a new 2-year contract running through June 2018. 

The 19-year-old midfielder was an instrumental figure for Everton Under-23s as they won the Premier League 2 title in 2017, having only made his full debut for David Unsworth’s side on the final day of the previous campaign.

Unsworth has been glowing in his praise for the teenager and Baningime was rewarded for his terrific form at the start of this season by being invited to train with Ronald Koeman’s first team. After penning an extended new deal in October 2017 that would run until June 2020, the young Blues’ ball-winning midfielder is aiming to become the next Academy talent to be called on by the Dutchman.

“I am very, very happy – thrilled to sign the contract,” Baningime told evertontv. “I have been working so hard for this and I am just glad David Unsworth and his staff have given me this opportunity. “My ambition is to make the first team but I will have to see what happens. That is my dream, to play in Everton’s first team. It has been ever since I came here.

“My progress has been fantastic. And it is all down to the coaching staff. Everything about my game, they have helped me with it all and I am extremely grateful. I speak to Tom (Davies) and Jonjoe Kenny and they really want to do well, which inspires you to want to do it as well. So, hopefully, it will happen for me. They are both great talents - but it is the hard work and how they conduct themselves which is really good.”

Unsworth says the “consistently outstanding” and “humble” Baningime fully merits his new contract. And the Under-23 boss is now challenging his 19-year-old charge to “kick on” to the next stage of his development.

“We are delighted,” said the former Blues defender. “Beni has been brilliant through a period of time for us since he came through the ranks with the Under-18s. He was great last season when we won the league. He was a consistently-outstanding performer and we are all just delighted.

“He is a terrific lad, very, very humble - and desperate to be an Everton footballer. And he is on the right path to doing that. I cannot speak highly enough of him. He is brilliant to work with. When you have a humble lad, who has talent and is desperate to learn and take on information, he is a pleasure to manage.

“He has the ingredients to be a top player. We just have to take it step by step. We think very highly of him and that has been shown with the offer of a new contract. We just have to plot the next couple of stages of his career now, which we do with every player,” said Unsworth.

“But we will be looking for Beni to kick on now. In the next 12-18 months we would hope he will get some minutes in the Football League - potentially with a loan move to the right club at the right time to further his development and continue his progression.”

His baptism at senior level would come before the month was out, however, with Unsworth true to his word in giving Beni a surprise debut at Stamford Bridge after the former Everton defeneder was put in charge of first-team matters. That followed the sacking of Ronald Koemna in the wake of a horrendous 5-2 home defeat at the hands of Arsenal. Beni put in a fine performance in the Carabao Cup 4th Round tie and was unlucky to be on the losing side as Chelsea's home advantage and some superb goalkeeping denied a strong second-half fightback by the Blues.  

FactFile

Squad number 54
Position Midfielder
Nationality Rep of Congo
Born Kinshasa
Date of birth 9 September 1998
Height x' xx"
Joined July 2014
Joined from Everton Academy
Signed by Ronald Koeman
Transfer fee None
Contract duration 2 + 2½ years
Contract expires June 2020
Full debut Chelsea (A)
25 October 2017
» Soccerbase Datafile
» Wikipedia Entry

Everton Career

Season Squad No. League Apps (sub) League Goals Cup Apps (sub) Cup Goals Total Apps (sub) Total Goals
2016-17
66
0 (0)
0
0 (0)
0
0 (0)
0
2017-18 54 1 (1) 0 2 (0) 0 3 (1) 0
  Totals 1 (1) 0 2 (0) 0 3 (1) 0


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