The contrast was night and day, chalk and cheese, the difference between a specialist right-back and a centre-half treading through treacle in an unnatural position.
As Everton’s failure to recruit a right-sided defender in the transfer window was brutally exposed in Saturday’s 3-0 thumping at Aston Villa – Ben Godfrey looking like the squarest of square pegs as he choked on Leon Bailey’s dust – Denzel Dumfries offered a painful reminder of what might have been.
It’s no secret Everton – and in particular sporting director Marcel Brands – were desperate to sign the former PSV Eindhoven captain in the summer.
A couple of stand-out performances at Euro 2020, however, quickly ensured the wider world woke up to the talents of Dumfries – the Rotterdam Cafu, the human express train.
If only Everton had got a deal signed, sealed and delivered before Dumfries announced himself on the European stage with that thunderous performance against Ukraine two months ago.
Interest from Serie A champions Inter Milan – coupled with growing Financial Fair Play fears at Goodison Park – meant Everton were conspicuous by their absence when Dumfries put pen to paper on a £13 million deal at the San Siro, a hotly anticipated tug-of-war over before it really began.
Will Everton regret losing out on Denzel Dumfries to Inter Milan?
And it’s credit to Dumfries that, after a superb performance in Saturday’s 6-1 thrashing of Bologna, that exasperation at Achraf Hakimi’s departure has been replaced by excitement at the Dutchman’s arrival.
“I think (Dumfries) had a great match,” head coach Simone Inzaghi said of the 25-year-old, who grabbed his first assist in Inter colours with an inch-perfect cross to Lautaro Martinez (Sempre Inter).
“He needs to integrate but this has gone faster than we expected. We are satisfied, he had a great match”.
While Benitez will be counting down the days until the evergreen Seamus Coleman returns to action, it’s difficult to dispel the notion Dumfries would have been a silver-bullet solution to one of Everton’s biggest problems.