With Everton struggling to keep up with their own early-season standards, the form of James Rodriguez makes for interesting conversation.
Thought to be struggling with a testicle injury picked up in the Merseyside derby, it’s fair to say the Colombian’s influence has waned since as he missed the defeat at Newcastle and proved unable to wholly impose himself during the losses against Southampton and Manchester United.
So, getting him back up to speed is imperative for Carlo Ancelotti as he attempts to restore some of the excitement at Goodison Park.
With that in mind, Everton fans should be particularly interested in what Colombia boss Carlos Queiroz has had to say on the matter.
Quoted by Marca, the former Manchester United assistant manager said: ‘James has a very specific situation, we’re in contact with him, his coach and Everton.
‘The decision is work and quality and try, in this time that we have the opportunity, to work with him to develop and present the best possible version.
‘We are attentive to all the details with the medical team and make the best decisions for him and the team.”
The star man for his country too, it seems as if Queiroz is well aware special attention must be paid to the 29-year-old. Still, it’s a difficult situation given Colombia have important World Cup qualifiers coming up.
Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola recently fumed at the lack of protection for top players during this most compressed of all campaigns but, frankly, Colombia need to win.
They play Uruguay on Friday night before a trip to Ecuador on Tuesday to play at altitude, representing a gruelling schedule for La Tricolor.
As things stand, they are a point ahead of both sides but could easily drop out of the qualification places with poor results, surely making the temptation to play a star such as James even greater.
Things certainly aren’t getting easier for him after an injury struggle and Everton will be hoping he’s handled with care.
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