Everton’s list of Academy graduates is ever-growing.
Beni Baningime is the latest inductee on the Club’s Academy graduates board at USM Finch Farm, becoming the 44th player to rise through the ranks and reach the first team since the Club’s youth system changed from a ‘Centre of Excellence’ in 1998.
Aged 19 years and 46 days, midfielder Baningime was handed his senior bow by manager David Unsworth in the 2-1 Carabao Cup defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on 25 October.
Baningime, who joined Everton at the age of nine, was given his Premier League debut at Leicester City four days later, before making his maiden European appearance in the Europa League trip to Lyon.
To complete an unforgettable fortnight, the midfielder was named in the starting line-up in a Premier League contest for the first time as Everton came from behind to record a 3-2 victory over Watford on a thrilling evening at Goodison Park on Sunday.
“It’s a great feeling to see my name up on the board,” Baningime told evertontv. “You look at everyone who has come up through the Academy before me, the likes of Wayne Rooney and then more recently with people like Tom Davies and Jonjoe Kenny, it’s just fantastic to be part of them and to join the list.
“It’s a case of keep working hard to push on now. My parents always tell me that no matter how far you get, you always have to strive and improve yourself.
“I want to become a legend here. That starts with hard work and playing as many games as I can.
“It’s crazy to look back at the past two or three weeks. I look back and think, ‘Wow, I’ve actually just done that'.
“I’ve reflected on how I’ve done and I’ve looked at how I can get better. I think it’s gone well but you just need to carry on improving. I think I need to improve on my physicality and that’s something I’m working on.”