Everton academy graduate Beni Baningime has sung the Goodison Park academy's praises, saying it was "probably the best thing" for him to stay following reports of a failed move away and also hailing the Toffees U23s boss David Unsworth for his man-management and coaching (official Everton website).
The Everton midfielder has long been deemed one of the Toffees academy's brightest youngsters, but he endured a difficult season last time out to say the least, slipping down the pecking order ever since Marco Silva was appointed as Ronald Koeman’s full-time successor a year ago.
Baningime has not played a Premier League game since a 1-1 draw with Swansea in April 2018, while his loan at Wigan Athletic saw him suffer from a persistent ankle injury and restricted to a solitary appearance for Paul Cook’s team.
According to a report in the Liverpool Echo from early September, there was interest in the 21-year-old from Danish club Brondby in the summer, but negotiations collapsed.
However, Baningime has been back to his best this season with "boundless energy, bite in the tackle and sharp, penetrative passes" as Unsworth and co kicked off their Premier League 2 title defence with just one defeat from their opening eight games.
"Staying at Everton was probably the best thing for me," Baningime told the Everton website. "Playing under a manager I know and I trust is helping to get me back to where I belong. Unsy is always challenging me. You can never be complacent.
"I know if I come in and I’ve even just been a little bit sloppy, he is going to be on me. He knows how good I am. If I do make a mistake, he knows, ‘This isn’t Beni – he can do better’. It’s important to have someone who has that faith. I’m just so happy to be playing every week, because I love my football. I’ll keep trying to be the best player on the field."
On Baningime, Unsworth previously said, as reported by the Liverpool Echo: "He's just of the mould of Makelele, of Kante and, honestly, I cannot pay him a big enough compliment to say he is that good I fully expect him to kick on and be that type of player in our first-team."
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