Everton latest gossip: Big-money outcast ready to make Rafa Benitez "look stupid"

Everton manager Rafa Benitez

Everton outcast James Rodriguez is desperate to "make Rafa Benitez look stupid" amid a long-running feud between the pair, according to journalist Paul Brown.

Why is there tension between James and Benitez?

Fresh from winning the 2014 World Cup Golden Boot, Colombia international James sealed a switch to Real Madrid from Monaco.

James went on to score 17 goals in his first season with the Spanish giants and, in the summer of 2015, Benitez moved into the hotseat after being appointed as Carlo Ancelotti's successor.

James' opportunities dried up under Benitez, with him being afforded just 17 La Liga starts in the following campaign.

It led to Benitez being forced to deny allegations that he and James did not see eye-to-eye.

James also hit back at his club manager as he played 90 minutes and netted for Colombia four days after Benitez claimed the winger was out of form.

They have since been reunited at Goodison Park, with Benitez taking over as Everton's manager in June.

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What has Paul Brown said about the situation?

Brown believes there is still tension between James and Benitez.

The reporter also thinks James, 30, is desperate to prove Benitez wrong after all these years.

He told GMS: "I think that because of his past history with Rafa Benitez, there's a certain little part of him that's thinking I would love to prove this guy wrong. If James appears on the bench in the next few weeks, I could see him coming on for the last 10 minutes of a game trying to make Rafa Benitez look stupid.

"That may not be a recipe for success in the dressing room or for unity, but it does mean we might see a 30-yard screamer going in from James.

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"I don't think he's going to be someone who kicks up a fuss in the dressing room or throws his toys out of the pram, but I could be wrong. We'll see.

"There's clearly some tension there between him and Benitez because of what happened at Real Madrid and that's never going to go away.

"But, personally, I think James Rodriguez is desperate to get in that team, play as much as he can and prove the manager wrong. That's not necessarily a bad thing for Everton."

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Does James have a future at Everton while Benitez is in charge?

James has not even been named in a matchday squad this season and ahead of Everton's 2-2 draw with Leeds United last month, he admitted to not knowing who the Toffees’ next opponents were on his Twitch account.

The comments, which came after being told he does not feature in Benitez’s plans, infuriated Everton supporters.

The Merseyside club were desperate to offload James during the transfer window, with the winger currently earning £90,000-per-week, but a buyer was not forthcoming before the deadline passed.

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