Beni Savours Experience But Midfielder Wants Wins

by Paul McNamara

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Beni Baningime says playing in Everton’s first team is a “great experience” and insists the Toffees cannot waste time feeling sorry for themselves following Sunday’s defeat by Leicester.

Baningime appeared as a half-time substitute at the King Power Stadium on Sunday, four days after making his Everton debut in the Carabao Cup tie with Chelsea.

The 19-year-old midfielder was part of an improved Toffees performance following the break against Claude Puel's team, albeit the visitors could not find a way back into the match after falling behind to first-half goals from Jamie Vardy and Demarai Gray.

David Unsworth admitted his side’s display in the opening 45 minutes fell below the level he demanded – and Baningime revealed he had been sent on with instructions to help Everton take the fight back to their hosts.

“He (Unsworth) said we needed to work hard and press them,” Baningime told evertontv. “In the first half we were on the back foot and he wanted us to get on the front foot.

“We did that – and in the second half we were a lot better. If we carry on playing like that then we should be alright.

“We had a lot of possession (after half-time). Leicester dropped back a bit, which gave me space to pass the ball to the players in front of me.

“It was a great experience but I would have enjoyed it more if we had won. But there is more time for that to come and, hopefully, it will happen in the next game.”

Baningime’s promotion to first-team duties has come in the same month he signed a new deal to keep him at Goodison Park until July 2020.

He played as if to the manner born in the hothouse environment of Stamford Bridge last week and appeared equally at ease performing at the home of the 2015/16 English champions, where Unsworth deployed the Academy graduate at the base of a midfield diamond.

Everton now have a quick turnaround before facing Lyon in France on Thursday night, before signing off ahead of the international break with Watford’s Premier League visit to Goodison Park on Sunday.

“There is no time (to dwell on the Leicester defeat),” said Baningime.  “We have a game on Thursday and we need to think about that now. This is gone and if we repeat our second-half performance here, we should be alright.

“I was more comfortable (against Leicester). All the lads were behind me and just telling me to do what I did in the last game. It was the same with Unsy and the coaches. That gave me the confidence to play again.

“I am starting to feel part of it. The lads have been great, they advise me, speak to me and make me feel part of the group, which is great – and that helps on the pitch, as well.”

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