Football

James Rodriguez urged to show Everton commitment

Everton manager Rafael Benitez has urged James Rodriguez to show commitment to the club if he wants a place in the team.

Everton manager Rafael Benitez has urged James Rodriguez to show commitment to the club if he wants a place in the team.

The Colombia international has been linked with a move since Benitez took charge of the Toffees after the previous coach Carlo Ancelotti left during the summer.

Rodriguez, 30, has not featured for the Premier League side this season and has suggested on his Twitch channel that he is looking for a transfer.

Benitez believes the attacking midfielder can still add something to Everton if he does end up staying for the rest of the season.

“I have seen what was going on at the end of the season, what was going on this season with some social media comments,” the Spaniard said at a press conference.

“It was not easy, because he was available in the transfer window. Now that we have just the Middle East window open, it’s not easy.

“I think he realised he has to improve in a lot of things. He has to focus, he has to show his commitment. That’s what he’s trying to do and that is good for us.

“If he stays with us, it’s good news for us because he can give us something more. We don’t have any doubt about his quality, we have to be sure that we have players playing for 90 minutes with the intensity we’re looking for.

“Each player has his characteristics and some games where he can be the difference.

“If James is staying with us, we need to find the right games for him, and he has to show his commitment and his desire. It’s something his teammates, fans and staff are expecting for him.

“If he can do that, he can make a contribution for the team.”

He added: “He’s training with the team. Obviously, we have been talking about his future and we had some clubs interested. He still is here, he’s training with the rest of his teammates.

“Match fitness means that he has to play games, and he has to play games in a row. So, at the moment, I think that he’s a little bit behind the others.

“The team is doing well, the players understand what we want to do. He has to understand that. Then we have to try to bring the best from each player, in this case, he has to adapt to the team and we will try to get the best from everyone.”

Benitez has suggested the club would have preferred to see the former Real Madrid and Bayern Munich player leave during the previous transfer window to reduce their spending on wages.

“I was not in the conversations, I know that there were some clubs that had interest but that’s it,” he added.

“If the offer was good, you know the financial fair play rules and the problem we have with salaries, it was important for us to create some space for another player.

“We couldn’t do it, and now we have to manage that.”

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