Derby County news: Reasoning behind player absence revealed

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Wayne Rooney's bright start to his managerial career has given Derby County supporters a reason to be hopeful in recent weeks.

Since being appointed on a permanent basis earlier this year following a successful interim period, the 35-year-old has guided his side away from the relegation places.

Hard-fought victories over the likes of Middlesbrough and Bristol City at Pride Park have been backed up with encouraging displays away from home against Queens Park Rangers and Wycombe Wanderers.

Whereas winter signings Lee Gregory and Teden Mengi have both been given opportunities to shine in the Championship since joining the Rams, Beni Baningime has struggled for game-time since his arrival from Goodison Park.

Signed on a short-term loan deal from Everton during the previous transfer window, the midfielder's only appearance so far for Derby came as a substitute in the club's 3-0 defeat to Rotherham United last month.

Rams assistant boss Liam Rosenior has revealed that the reasoning behind Baningime's absence is mainly due to a lack of fitness.

Speaking to the Derby Telegraph about the midfielder, the former Hull City defender said: "Beni has not played first-team football for quite a while but what he has done, and because we train so intensely, his fitness levels and sharpness have gone through the roof in the time he has been here.

"He is pushing, he is really pushing.

"He has been outstanding in training, he is pushing the other midfield players and I am sure sooner rather than later you will see him maybe come off the bench or even start a game.

"He is a huge part of our squad, like every member is."

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When you consider that Baningime failed to make a single appearance for Everton's senior side during the first-half of 2020/21 campaign, it is hardly a surprise that he is taking a bit of time to adjust to the intensity at Derby.

Providing that he continues to impress in training, there is no reason why the 22-year-old cannot compete for position with the likes of Graeme Shinnie and Max Bird in the coming weeks.

Baningime will be using this particular spell to try and show Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti that he is capable of thriving in senior football and thus it is paramount that he continues to push for game-time as a failure to do so may impact his long-term future.

If the midfielder can cause a stir by producing some impressive displays between now and the end of the season, perhaps Derby may even consider the possibility of bringing him back to Pride Park when the summer transfer window opens.

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