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Men's Football Baleba could be one of the Premier League's best, Seagulls' boss says

BRIGHTON manager Roberto De Zerbi believes 20-year-old midfielder Carlos Baleba could eventually become one of the best players in the Premier League, but might not yet be ready to step into Billy Gilmour’s boots.

Gilmour was sent off for a late challenge on Everton substitute Amadou Onana in Saturday’s 1-1 draw on the south coast.

The Scotland international will now be suspended for the game against Wolves in the FA Cup and games in the league against Fulham and Nottingham Forest.

De Zerbi described Gilmour as his team’s only playmaker but suggested he will likely use Baleba as his replacement in coming games as he views Jakub Moder more as an alternative to Pascal Gross.

“Billy is a unique player,” De Zerbi said. “We have only one playmaker in our squad, and he’s Billy Gilmour.

“I think Carlos Baleba has those qualities, but he’s very young.

“He’s new in Brighton because he arrived last summer but didn’t play too many games, but I believe in Carlos.

“He can become one of the best players in the Premier League in the future, for sure.”

Gilmour was sent off with Brighton already a goal down.

Jarrad Branthwaite had given Everton the lead when a Jordan Pickford free kick eventually fell to him in the area.

He lashed home a powerful strike with his left boot, which gave Brighton goalkeeper Bart Verbuggen no chance.

It looked like Everton were heading for what would have been a vital three points to put the difference of a win between themselves and Luton Town on the edge of the relegation zone.

But despite being a goal up and a man up, they didn’t make the most of the man advantage and looked unable to control the game.

Amid nine minutes of added time, Lewis Dunk headed home a Pascal Gross cross to cancel out his fellow centre-back’s earlier strike.

“In the end, a point is better than nothing,” De Zerbi said begrudgingly. “I think we deserved to win, and we created many chances to score.”

Gilmour will be a big miss, but fans will now be looking forward to seeing what young Cameroonian Baleba can do in Gilmour’s absence.


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