Just featuring for the Everton side is not enough for young midfielder Beni Baningime. Having recently been handed his first few appearances for the Toffees senior team has only whetted the teenager’s appetite, and he wants to turn it into something meaningful now.
Baningime recently saw his name go up on the Club’s Academy graduates board at the training facility at USM Finch Farm, making him the 44th player to come up from the youth system and break into the first team since 1998.
The midfielder made his first team debut in the Carabao Cup game at Chelsea, aged 19 years and 46 days, and just weeks after having been awarded a new contract that keeps him at the club until at least 2020.
Speaking to evertontv, the player said -
“It’s a great feeling to see my name up on the board. 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.”
Born in Kinshasa, Congo, Baningime moved to the United Kingdom at age 8 and was immediately signed up to the Everton Academy where he has been since. He captained the Under-18s to the Dallas Cup trophy in 2016, and at the end of last season was awarded the Keith Tamlin award (named after the Club’s Vice Life President) for his excellence, attitude and application during his time spent in the Academy.
Baningime has 25 appearances for the Under-23s with one goal in that time playing as a defensive midfielder. Since then, he also has four senior appearances for the Blues, with the likelihood that he will remain with the first team for the rest of the season, depending on who takes over the permanent manager reins.