David Unsworth has lauded the "terrific" impact of Everton debutant Beni Baningime in Wednesday's Carabao Cup clash with Chelsea.
The interim Toffees manager handed the 19-year-old his senior bow at Stamford Bridge in the eventual 2-1 loss, but was buoyed by how mature Baningime's performance was from the off.
The 19-year-old didn't look out of place among more senior professionals on the pitch and, speaking to the club's website, Unsworth explained why Baningime was handed his first-team debut in the heart of midfield.
He said: “If I am honest, Beni Baningime was not in the team last night, but Morgan Schneiderlin was taken ill and sometimes things are forced on you. That then opens the door to another player and gives them an opportunity.
“I had no hesitation in playing Beni. Over a period of 18 months or so, he has been outstanding. I know he has the ability, the physicality and certainly the temperament to come to the home of the Premier League champions and put on that sort of display.”
Baningime, who excelled as part of Everton's Under-23s side that won the Premier League 2 title last season, impressed the travelling Blues contingent with his committed display.
The Congolese-born starlet did come in for a bit of criticism for one challenge on fellow youngster Nathan Ampadu during the contest, but Unsworth insisted that the centre midfielder's tenacity and desire to win the ball meant that was always a feature of his game.
The man affectionately dubbed 'Rhino' added: “I didn’t think he would be as good as he was! I was very proud of his display.
"For those who don’t know him, that tackle he put in in the second half is a regular thing. He’ll do it in training as well. Evertonians better get used to that if he goes on to play a bit more!
"I thought Beni was terrific but I thought everybody was terrific. I could not be more proud of our players tonight, everybody, the staff, the players who did not get stripped, the substitutes – we all contributed to a committed performance."