Teenage midfielder Beni Baningime will make his first Everton start in tonight’s Carabao Cup clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The 19-year-old Academy graduate penned a fresh two-and-a-half-year contract with the Toffees earlier this month and vowed to keep working hard to achieve his “dream” of playing for Everton’s first-team.
Now Baningime, who joined the Blues aged nine, will line up alongside fellow homegrown products Jonjoe Kenny and Tom Davies, as David Unsworth makes five changes from the team which started Sunday’s Premier League encounter with Arsenal for tonight’s match in west London.
There is also a return to the side for Aaron Lennon, who last started for Everton on 2 January, when the Toffees completed a 3-0 Goodison success against Southampton.
Republic of Ireland international James McCarthy starts a Toffees match for the first time since the 6-3 win over Bournemouth on 4 February.
Captain Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams form the Toffees’ central defensive pairing for the fourth-round tie, with Kenny and Leighton Baines operating as full-backs.
Baningime is poised to anchor the visitors’ midfield, behind McCarthy and Davies, with Lennon and Kevin Mirallas – who played 68 minutes against Lyon last Thursday – deployed on the wings.
Wayne Rooney will lead Everton’s attack and Jordan Pickford is set to continue in goal.
Unsworth has named Michael Keane, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Oumar Niasse, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Mason Holgate, Ademola Lookman and goalkeeper Joel Robles on the Blues’ bench.