David Unsworth once told the Liverpool Echo how new Derby County loan signing Beni Baningime has the tools to emulate N’Golo Kante and be a first-teamer at Everton.
Baningime came through the Everton ranks and impressed at U23 level.
Now aged 22, the talented midfielder has joined Derby on loan until the end of the season where he will hope a spell in the Championship will aid his development.
Baningime reunites with former Everton teammate and now Derby boss Wayne Rooney.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo in 2017, Everton academy boss Unsworth tipped Baningime to become a future first-team star in the mould of N’Golo Kante at Goodison Park.
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“Beni just gets better and better. 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. Beni has come on leaps and bounds, he is a lovely boy and I fully expect him to be in our first-team one day,” Unsworth explained.
Baningime has big boots to fill if he is to emulate Kante.
The French World Cup winner won a Premier League title with Leicester City before picking up another one following a £30 million move to Chelsea.
In the short-term, Baningime will set his sights on regular first-team football at Derby.
The Rams have a huge midfield void to fill after Krystian Bielik unfortunately suffered another ACL knee injury recently and is set for another lengthy spell out on the side-lines.
Max Bird has filled in, but the Derby academy ace struggles against physical opponents.
Baningime, once he gets up to match speed, may be the ideal player to feature in the holding role while energetic duo Graeme Shinnie and Jason Knight take up more advanced roles.