Three Things Learned from Everton 1-5 Atalanta

Wayne Rooney of Everton shows dissapointment at the final whistle during the UEFA Europa League group E match between Everton FC and Atalanta at Goodison Park on November 23, 2017 in...

David Unsworth's Everton suffered a hideous defeat to Atalanta at Goodison Park, but what did we learn?

Papu Gomez of Atalanta and Beni Baningime of Everton battle for possession during the UEFA Europa League group E match between Everton FC and Atalanta at Goodison Park on November 23, 2017...

1. Beni Baningime is the truth

What a performance from the young Congolese defensive midfielder. Handed the responsibility of running his team's midfield, Baningime stepped up to the plate and delivered a wonderful defensive display.

He was combative and confident, tenacious and persistent. He timed his interceptions well, stepping up to press Atalanta's midfielders. But he was also quality on the back foot when chasing back to help his defence.

That's quite remarkable for a 19 year-old who's barely played senior football in his career (he joined Everton as a 9 year-old). But Baningime seems like the kind of player that will make a living out of proving critics wrong.

Obviously there are parts of his game that need improving, but he's young and has shown great ability so far. Most impressively is that he was able to keep it together even as Everton collapsed all around him. For a teenager to be Everton's most reliable player is quite something!

Wayne Rooney of Everton shows dissapointment at the final whistle during the UEFA Europa League group E match between Everton FC and Atalanta at Goodison Park on November 23, 2017 in...

2. Signing Wayne Rooney was a colossal mistake

It all started so well with two goals early in the season, but now we're approaching the hard winter months it's becoming clear just how bad of a sporting decision signing Wayne Rooney was.

Obviously Rooney is a stalwart leader and good mentor to young talent. Obviously he's a phenomenal marketing presence who will bring in money that way. But as a footballer Rooney is bad, and worse, he makes everyone around him bad too. He's like a black hole for quality football.

Against Atalanta he was dreadful. Aimlessly wandering around, giving the ball away with sloppy passes and just straight-up getting dispossessed. He is terrible, and worse still he plays in a position where Everton where already well-stocked. His introduction to the squad just makes life harder for all the other new talent that was signed over the summer.

Andreas Cornelius of Atalanta and Tom Davies of Everton battle for possession during the UEFA Europa League group E match between Everton FC and Atalanta at Goodison Park on November 23,...

3. It's time to trust the kids

This game had to make it obvious. The veterans are done. Ashley Williams has been an unmitigated disaster so far this season and Phil Jagielka hasn't been much better. Wayne Rooney is abysmal. Leighton Baines is the only veteran pulling his weight, just about.

Everton have a wealth of young talent they can trust in. Sure, they'll make errors along the way. but if you trust in them then those errors will lead to improvement.

When Ashley Williams makes a mistake (and he made several tonight) that's pretty much a flaw ingrained in his game. He won't be improving. Michael Keane, on the other hand? He can learn from a thrashing like tonight's.

Everton should ditch the veterans and play as many of the kids as possible. And do it every week. Augment them with quality like Gylfi Sigurdsson and Idrissa Gueye, sure, but let the kids lead the way. After all, they are the future!

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