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

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

 

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.

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

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.’

 

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This article was edited by Josh Barker.

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Chelsea FC 9 20 22
2 Liverpool FC 9 21 21
3 Manchester City 9 16 20
4 West Ham United 9 6 17
5 Brighton & Hove Albion 9 0 15
6 Tottenham Hotspur 9 -4 15
7 Manchester United 9 1 14
8 Everton FC 9 1 14
9 Leicester City 9 0 14
10 Arsenal FC 9 -3 14
11 Wolverhampton Wanderers 9 0 13
12 Brentford FC 9 2 12
13 Aston Villa 9 -2 10
14 Watford FC 9 -5 10
15 Crystal Palace 9 -3 9
16 Southampton FC 9 -4 8
17 Leeds United 9 -8 7
18 Burnley FC 9 -8 4
19 Newcastle United 9 -9 4
20 Norwich City 9 -21 2

Premier League 21/22

Topscorers
Disciplinary
Assists
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 7
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 6
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 5
Fernandes, Bruno Manchester United 4
Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick Arsenal FC 4
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 4
Firmino, Roberto Liverpool FC 4
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 4
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United 4
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 4
Hwang, Hee-chan Wolverhampton Wanderers 4
Sarr, Ismaila Watford FC 4
Greenwood, Mason Manchester United 4
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 3
Townsend, Andros Everton FC 3
King, Joshua Watford FC 3
Ings, Danny Aston Villa 3
Benrahma, Said West Ham United 3
Gray, Demarai Everton FC 3