Everton latest news: Critics are "barking up the wrong tree" with James Rodriguez

Everton midfielder James Rodriguez has come under criticism

Journalist Paul Brown has warned that some critics have got the wrong idea when it comes to Everton’s James Rodriguez.

What’s the latest news involving James Rodriguez?

Goodison gaffer Rafa Benitez recently confirmed that the Colombian international was available for transfer during the summer window, while claiming he needs to show more commitment to work his way back into Everton’s starting XI. 

As quoted by The Liverpool Echo, Benitez said in regards to Rodriguez: “It was not easy, because he was available in the transfer window… 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 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.”

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What has Paul Brown said about Rodriguez?

Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, Brown insisted that the former Real Madrid and Bayern Munich star’s commitment isn’t the problem – and in fact, he showed plenty of it last season when he played despite lacking match sharpness. 

He said: “People who think James Rodriguez doesn’t try or isn’t committed to the club, or doesn’t want to be there, I think are barking up the wrong tree.

“There were times last season when James played in games that he shouldn’t have played in. He was half-fit, he lasted an hour, you could see he was dead on his feet by then and they had to bring him off.

“But he had such a close relationship with Carlo Ancelotti, and Ancelotti needed him so badly for the way they wanted to play, and they were forced to do it. I think in in the end that came back to haunt them.”

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What has been Rodriguez’s fitness record at Everton?

According to Transfermarkt, Rodriguez missed twelve games last season due to injury. Perhaps more significant, however, is the fact that he only managed a full ninety minutes on nine occasions in 2020/21 and was subbed off in 16 of the 25 games that he started. 

That obviously hindered the Toffees at times with the 80-cap Colombian being one of their most influential attacking players. He ranked third for assists and joint-third for goals amongst Everton’s squad in the Premier League last season.

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Nonetheless, Brown remains adamant that Rodriguez went the extra mile on more than one occasion, when he could have legitimately refused to play instead. 

That doesn’t appear to have been enough to win Benitez over but considering Rodriguez’s pedigree, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him make important contributions throughout the season.

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