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Benitez speaks out over James Rodriguez’s Everton status ahead of Villa

By Conor Laird Published: September 16, 2021 4:34 pm

Last Updated: September 16, 2021 4:38 pm

Everton boss Rafael Benitez has, on Thursday, provided an insight into the situation of midfield talent James Rodriguez.

James the outcast Colombian international Rodriguez has proven something of a forgotten man on the blue half of Merseyside thus far this season.

As the Toffees marched their way to an impressive 10 points from 12 across their opening four Premier League fixtures, Rodriguez was left to watch on from home, amid yet another crossroads in a career that has so often flattered to deceive.

The key factor behind James’ latest round of struggles, of course, comes in the form of the change on the bench at Goodison Park this summer.

After Carlo Ancelotti – the man who previously oversaw some of the finest form of the midfielder’s career – opted to call time on his Blues stint to seal a return to Real Madrid, Rafael Benitez was soon installed in his place.

And reports, in turn, quickly began to surface that the Spaniard, unlike his predecessor, saw little room for Rodriguez in his setup.

MALLORCA, SPAIN – OCTOBER 19: James Rodriguez of Real Madrid CF looks on during the Liga match between RCD Mallorca and Real Madrid CF at Iberostar Estadi on October 19, 2019 in Mallorca, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

‘We will see…’ Last week, though, saw the 30-year-old, for the first time, spotted training alongside the rest of Benitez’s squad at Finch Farm.

It therefore came as little surprise when, during a press conference ahead of his side’s meeting with Aston Villa this weekend, the Everton boss was asked for an update on James’ situation.

And Benitez went on to confirm that the former Bayern Munich man is ‘training normally’, even hinting at the possibility of a season bow at Villa Park on Saturday evening:

‘He’s training, and these kind of weeks when you’re playing, and you have a day off in between is not easy to see how much in the first training session. We will see tomorrow, but he’s training normally with the team.’

James Rodriguez is training normally #EFC https://t.co/9ZiPVIyzx0

— Everton FC News (@LivEchoEFC) September 16, 2021

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# Team MP D P 1 Manchester United 4 8 10 2 Chelsea FC 4 8 10 3 Liverpool FC 4 8 10 4 Everton FC 4 6 10 5 Manchester City 4 10 9 6 Brighton & Hove Albion 4 2 9 7 Tottenham Hotspur 4 0 9 8 West Ham United 4 5 8 9 Leicester City 4 -2 6 10 Brentford FC 4 1 5 11 Crystal Palace 4 0 5 12 Aston Villa 4 -2 4 13 Wolverhampton Wanderers 4 -1 3 14 Southampton FC 4 -2 3 15 Watford FC 4 -4 3 16 Arsenal FC 4 -8 3 17 Leeds United 4 -7 2 18 Burnley FC 4 -5 1 19 Newcastle United 4 -7 1 20 Norwich City 4 -10 0 Player Team Goals Antonio, Michail West Ham United 4 Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 4 Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 3 Lukaku, Romelu Chelsea FC 3 Gray, Demarai Everton FC 3 Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 3 Greenwood, Mason Manchester United 3 Benrahma, Said West Ham United 2 Ings, Danny Aston Villa 2 Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 2 Fornals, Pablo West Ham United 2 Torres, Ferran Manchester City 2 Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 2 Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 2 Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 2 Wilson, Callum Newcastle United 2 Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 2 Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 2 Edouard, Odsonne Crystal Palace 2

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