The head coach of the Colombia national team has explained his decision to "sacrifice" James Rodriguez from his squad for this summer's Copa America, one that appears to have been at odds with the assessment of Everton's medical staff.
James was left out of the Colombia squad for the tournament, that was at one stage to be joint-hosted by his home country but which has now been moved at late notice to Brazil, due to his recent injury problems, with Reinaldo Rueda now admitting that he couldn't risk the Everton star's long-term health or include a player that wasn't "500% fit".
He told the Colombian presss that he made the decision after a joint review of his fitness with Everton and his national team's medical staff, although the club have said they would have had no issue with him playing this summer.
"Prior to the Federation's statement, I met with James by telephone for the results of the exams and to review the information exchanged by the doctor of the Colombian national team and Everton regarding the [condition] of James," Rueda said. "That is why the decision was made that we must take care of him.
"We know the importance it has for the national team and our immediate future of the next 10 games that are coming, as I explained to James. I considered [the situation] myself and it was the conclusion I reached after evaluating all the situations that have arisen in this semester and this last quarter.
"That is why I told James I made the decision to [withhold] him from selection [and] for him to make his recovery accordingly ... so he can enjoy a full pre-season with his club and we can have him in the next few squads.
"I preferred to sacrifice him now with all that James means for the national team, for the group and for the country. It is not only the healing of a recurrent injury in the same place, but then the readjustment to the competition, especially according to the report sent by his club and the preparation [needed for] a tournament such as the Copa America.
"We cannot harm ourselves, we cannot harm James and the national team. I consider that the national team requires the James that we all fell in love with. I told him we need him but [only] when he is 500%, because we know that 100 per cent is not enough for the selection."
Rodriguez issued his own statement describing his "pain" at being left out and Rueda acknowledged how difficult it was as well as the support the player has received from some of his international team-mates.
"[H]is feeling ... is normal," Rudea said. "If I put myself in his shoes, and captains Juan [Cuadrado], David [Ospina], Falcao and the players in solidarity with him, [I would] feel the same "His reaction is normal, he is a player and wants to play and be in the national team, and even more so because he has lived glorious moments with the national team .
"It is the pain of a moment that he is going to have to grieve and that's why I told him, 'think about it, reconsider and in a few months we'll talk and see how you feel'."
However, Everton director of medical services, Danny Donachie, says that the only doubt in the club's mind was over whether he could play in the two World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Argentina next week.
As far as the Blues' medical team were concerned, he looked capable of playing in the Copa.
“It was a very small injury at the end of the season and we had no issues at all with James joining up with Colombia," Donachie told the Everton official website.
“He was hoping to play in the two qualifiers and the only discussion we had with the Colombian FA was whether that was a good idea, or whether it would be more prudent to prepare him for the [Copa America] tournament.
“We decided collectively it would be better for him not to play in the two World Cup matches, then he would be absolutely ready for the start of the Copa America and able to play the entire tournament without any issues.
“I have seen the tests carried out by Colombia and there is nothing in them to say he is not going to be fit for that competition.
“We agreed he would be fully fit, without any questions, for the start of the Copa America.
“We spoke about his rehab and they agreed to continue the process but there was never a doubt in our mind he would be in top condition in time for the tournament.
“James will be back with us on July 5th and ready for a full pre-season”
Reader Comments (63)
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1 Posted 31/05/2021 at 14:18:32
Wow, just imagine having a 500% James Rodriguez in a blue shirt, can't wait.
I see Argentina's hosting of the Copa America tournament has been suspended due to the Covid situation.
2 Posted 31/05/2021 at 14:24:27
Why else would he say “think about it, reconsider and in a few months we'll talk and see how you feel'."
Anyway my opinion is that the manager didnt want him in the squad and took the fitness issue as an opportunity.
It would be interesting to know if there have been past issues between James & Rueda, anyone know?
The problem is Rueda cannot outwardly state this given James “national treasure” status.
It wouldnt be the first time an international manager decides a players contribution has tipped into a negative factor whether thats by attitude, tactics, dressing room presence or form.
Anyway the Copa looks in real jeopardy now having been originally pulled from Columbia and now subsequently being pulled from Argentina.
3 Posted 31/05/2021 at 14:26:25
Time was 100% was all you could actually do, cos it was like physically impossible to be more than that. Then they rationalized 110% as showing additional effort beyond your natural capacity and limitation. That soon became 120%.
Now, thanks to South American hyperbole, it's been rapidly inflated to 500%. The EMF should hold an enquiry.
4 Posted 31/05/2021 at 14:28:42
Especially if Colombia enjoy any success without him.
Feels from afar like the last days of international level Gazza in truth. Sad.
PS - Dave M, only just saw your post and I must agree with a lot of it. I pointed out similar on a different thread. Do any South American correspondents have the inside skinny as it were? This feels more political non-selection than fitness, from a distance.
5 Posted 31/05/2021 at 14:29:25
6 Posted 31/05/2021 at 14:47:30
7 Posted 31/05/2021 at 14:54:16
#5 Ray - you're describing the situation that effects every team that has "star" players. Pretty sure Rodriguez could have played more games for us this season and was voluntarily held out by Ancelotti, so I don't think this applies, really. Anyway, if we're talking about a semi-fit James displacing one of his underperforming replacements, such as Iwobi, Bernard or Sigurdsson, well I don't think any of those fellas would have much of a grievance, to be honest!
8 Posted 31/05/2021 at 14:59:54
Once the percentage assessment goes into the exaggeration zone it actually dilutes the meaning.
I mean, what, only 500%! Colombia and Everton deserve a million percent, and nothing less.
9 Posted 31/05/2021 at 15:00:15
In Danny's simple head. The player travelled and looked like he was delighted to be on his way to represent his country. The coaching staff has taken a look at him and thought "sorry son, not this time". He's reacted badly and potentially threatened not to represent his country again?? Speculation and reading between the lines on my part.
As we've discussed elsewhere, I hope he takes time over the summer, sorts his head out and comes back to be 100% for us next season. If we get 75% out of this player, he earns us points and wins us games, so a 100% James is gold.
10 Posted 31/05/2021 at 15:04:41
11 Posted 31/05/2021 at 15:22:50
12 Posted 31/05/2021 at 15:30:39
Your comments about a semi-fit James replacing the likes of Bernard and Iwobi are of course self-evident but, if we do manage to assemble a better quality, more rounded midfield, I'm not so certain I'd want a semi-fit James replacing a consistently performing player. Star player he may be but, unlike other star players making their comebacks after a longstanding injury, I don't see many other players indulged in the way James appears to have been.
It seems to me to be that he only plays when he feels he's up to it, almost on a match-by-match basis. That must occasionally grate on other team members.
It's not as though he's brilliant every time he plays is it? For every stellar performance there's a rank mediocre one! And I'm not downplaying his obvious niggles by the way.
13 Posted 31/05/2021 at 15:42:53
Everton Director of Medical Danny Donachie speaking on the OS, says James Rodriguez was on course to be fully fit for the start of Colombias Copa America campaign.
“We track every player individually and have information on every element of their physical condition and performance. “And, in terms of this particular injury, there would have been no long-term risk in him playing the Copa America. “James loves playing football and will do anything to get back on the pitch. “He is desperate to play for Colombia, that is for sure, and he always wants to be on the pitch for Everton.”
“And, in terms of this particular injury, there would have been no long-term risk in him playing the Copa America.
“James loves playing football and will do anything to get back on the pitch.
“He is desperate to play for Colombia, that is for sure, and he always wants to be on the pitch for Everton.”
That last line from Donachie will perhaps get a few posts on here - play for Colombia on the pitch for Everton...
14 Posted 31/05/2021 at 15:47:22
I give a maximum of 70% in everything I do. Especially in the summer when it's warm.
15 Posted 31/05/2021 at 15:48:47
"'I have seen the tests carried out by Colombia and there is nothing in them to say he is not going to be fit for that competition.'
'We agreed he would be fully fit, without any questions, for the start of the Copa America.'
'We spoke about his rehab and they agreed to continue the process but there was never a doubt in our mind he would be in top condition in time for the tournament.'"
I think the statement is a way for the club medical staff to absolve themselves from any responsibility for James missing the Copa, but it's a bit silly. It doesn't contradict the Colombia staff's assessment that James wasn't fully fit, so now it just seems like Everton is engaged in a public blame game against the Colombian medical team, creating unnecessary friction.
17 Posted 31/05/2021 at 16:01:29
Rudy #15, I read it differently. I agree Everton wanted to make it crystal clear that they had nothing to do with the decision. Didn't want James blaming them in any way. That to me is a positive measure, not a negative one.
Dave #2, I think your speculation is 180 degrees off target, evidence Rueda's comment that "I consider that the national team requires the James that we all fell in love with." The World Cup is what matters most to Colombia.
I think Rueda is looking at next week's qualifiers and seeing a win over Peru and a loss to Argentina, no matter whether James is there or not. Where he will matter most is in the September and October qualifiers with Chile, Uruguay, Ecuador and Brazil. They need those results to get to the World Cup Finals. Makes perfect sense to save James for those games rather than risk him on next week's foregone conclusions.
18 Posted 31/05/2021 at 16:09:21
In this James instance, the club could have just said something like, "We determined James would be fully fit by the start of the Copa America, but the Colombian medical staff may not have wanted to take the risk and we respect their decision," and left it at that.
19 Posted 31/05/2021 at 16:22:00
20 Posted 31/05/2021 at 16:26:03
21 Posted 31/05/2021 at 16:32:09
It's now been confirmed - and the BBC has already picked up on this (Copa America to be Played in Brazil) - that at the invitation of Brazil's great humanitarian, President Jair Bolonaro, and the Brazilian Football Federation that Brazil has offered to stage the tournament. An offer the regional federation CONMEBOL has accepted.
Marvellous. Second highest CV-19 death toll in the world. Even with falling numbers still clocking up 2,000+ deaths most days and 75,000 new daily cases. Low vaccination rate. Near zero social distancing and resistance to mask wearing. No effective national lockdown. Cases of Serie A football squads having 15-25 players go down with the virus simultaneously.
Perfect environment...for Bolsonaro to deflect attention from the Parliamentary Enquiry currently investigating his governments (non) handling of the pandemic which daily tightens the noose around his neck.
22 Posted 31/05/2021 at 16:36:56
Somehow I knew Bolsonaro would swoop in. If Trump was still about he'd have offered to host it at Mar Es Lago on condition no attendees had masks or were vaccinated.
23 Posted 31/05/2021 at 16:38:07
“He was hoping to play in the two qualifiers [on June 4 and 9] and the only discussion we had with the Colombian FA was whether that was a good idea, or whether it would be more prudent to prepare him for the tournament. We decided collectively it would be better for him not to play in the two World Cup matches, then he would be absolutely ready for the start of the Copa America and able to play the entire tournament without any issues."
That sounds to me like the opposite of Everton's dealings with Ireland over McCarthy. I think we've handled this just right.
And personally, I'm delighted James won't be playing in the Copa America. That tournament is a hackfest and grind under the best of circumstances. Now it's a chaotic, protest-besieged mess with no host country 12 days before kickoff. Better our talisman be kept away from the chaos. Bravo, Rueda.
Update/addendum: ...especially now that the tournament is apparently going to take place in the Covid crucible of Bolsonaro-land. Cheers Jay for that update -- hadn't seen that yet.
24 Posted 31/05/2021 at 16:47:30
Is the low vaccination uptake due to the public response or is it due to lack of availibility?
25 Posted 31/05/2021 at 16:49:49
26 Posted 31/05/2021 at 16:51:42
27 Posted 31/05/2021 at 16:54:28
28 Posted 31/05/2021 at 17:03:07
Nice to have a name to nail and blame for the global crisis.
Who wooda thunk it, that such evil dwelt amongst us on lil ole TW?
I might have missed it, but did mom-in-law ever make it out of Wuhan to the States?
29 Posted 31/05/2021 at 17:39:44
EFC should appoint you as the Director of Communication! That was exactly what Everton should have said.
30 Posted 31/05/2021 at 17:44:19
Belies the claims that he was saving himself for Colombia.
31 Posted 31/05/2021 at 17:48:41
China is at the opposite end of the scale from Brazil -- so paranoid about the virus that they overreact to everything. My sister-in-law was unable to visit Papa in the nursing home for two weeks because four cases popped up... 200 miles away in another province. Every nursing home in the eastern half of China was shut down.
32 Posted 31/05/2021 at 17:48:54
“I told him we need him but [only] when he is 500%, because we know that 100 per cent is not enough for the selection."
Which is just nonsensical.
However the stand point from your post, that sent a shiver down my spine, was mentioning the World Cup qualifiers in September and October.
So are we going to have a tentative or even absent James prior to these qualifiers (especially important as you stress he's missing these matches to be 100% blob on)?
I hope we have a Plan B when James is prioritising Colombia because we sure as hell didn't have one last season.
33 Posted 31/05/2021 at 17:58:19
The initial thought was that he was not playing for us because he wanted to be fit for Colombia for the Copa America, but he turns up there and they say, "We are not selecting you, you are injured."
So it turns out he was injured all along. I think we all knew when we signed him for nothing on 'reasonable' wages, that he had some injury issues because a fully fit James wouldn't sign for nothing and, in all honesty, wouldn't sign for us either... Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Everton.
So what we have is a tremendous player on his day with an injury problem. We'll probably get 25-30 games a season from him. Let's love him when he plays – not hate him when he doesn't. Because a fully fit James doesn't play for us at all.
34 Posted 31/05/2021 at 18:00:37
He would be nowhere near this mid-table team of ours if he was 100% fit.
35 Posted 31/05/2021 at 18:02:42
As for a Plan B in the fall, I'm sure every club has one for their internationals. We're gonna lose Richarlison, James and Mina for those South American qualifiers. That's just the way it is. The only way to avoid the problem is to have only non-internationals on your roster.
36 Posted 31/05/2021 at 18:10:49
I was working a lunch shift as a college student when that news broke and the whole place erupted into acrimonious rows with conspiracies and the pro-Gazza crowd going at it with the pro-Hoddle crowd.
37 Posted 31/05/2021 at 18:40:01
38 Posted 31/05/2021 at 18:57:56
Okay, so he's upset. It's not the end of the bloody world, is it?
39 Posted 31/05/2021 at 19:17:41
I'm chuffed, mate. Cheers.
40 Posted 31/05/2021 at 19:35:12
They could not have been further apart from the Irish who insisted that our players should play, against the advice of our medical team.
This should now give James a bit of time to get sorted for the new season.
I think this is great news for Everton.
41 Posted 31/05/2021 at 19:49:09
Wow! So sorry to hear that. I had presumed you had all been reunited by now. I know you had a couple of fails at getting her stateside. Didn't realise you are still being frustrated on that.
Tough for all concerned.
Quite a contemporary history between China and Brazil over CV-19. Bozo BR and his cronies continue to badmouth them, even though the Chinese Coronavac vaccine is responsible for 70% + of vaccinations in Brazil to date.
Your Bleach Boy doesn't come close to the grotesqueness of our Bozo, as hard as that may be for you to believe.
42 Posted 31/05/2021 at 21:58:27
43 Posted 31/05/2021 at 23:25:21
James on his day, is a God send for Everton, but you cant realistically build a team and win a football tournament, when your best players, are not, available.
Looking back, a recentish, different era, Ive had a recall, and Louis Saha, was in my book, a Monday to Friday player, too often, when it suited and went sick, when big games came up.
Ill never know, but thats what I recall of Louis Saha, he was always missing, for big games.
Four goals v Blackpool, great achievement but it didnt cut, as he was rarely if ever there, for the games that counted, for Everton.
Seriously makes it ironically worst when, we acquired Rom, and sold him, with 4 years.
Good business but how Everton have papered over the cracks.. in more or less most positions.
44 Posted 31/05/2021 at 23:29:32
I always like comparisons. and, although not a direct one in terms of style or play, that's not a bad one now that you've got me thinking.
45 Posted 31/05/2021 at 00:05:38
Seriously Louis Saha, for me was the pointless buy, when it counted, for the supporters, as in hindsight, he crapped out in the big games.
It was a nap, he would get the Friday afternoon bug, like that lazy crud of blight, like, Delph, does, when contracted at EFC.
Seriously some great catch ups to be had, when the TW, Beer Fest is scheduled.
I guarantee, people will know, whom they knew, never, thought they knew, but got to know, through, going the match, hope and away, and supporting Everton.
46 Posted 31/05/2021 at 00:07:49
How unusually refreshing!
Probably realise that having him on the pitch for half the tournament could be more disruptive than beneficial. Let him take the off season to try and get fully (500%) fit
If he can do that, we will have a hell of a player
47 Posted 31/05/2021 at 00:07:58
48 Posted 01/06/2021 at 00:39:39
“Missing for big games.”
Didn't Saha score the fastest goal in the FA Cup final for us? I don't remember him being as you describe. He had a lot of injuries but when fit usually was one of our better players.
49 Posted 01/06/2021 at 00:59:20
Youve called the enigma out to the point, spot on thus the point.
He didnt do the business in the hours of need, when contracted by EFC, in the big games.
50 Posted 01/06/2021 at 01:14:35
Sadly, I'd say we've had only one goal scorer in the last 25 years who was there in an hour of need: Tim Cahill. Us and Australia both actually.
51 Posted 01/06/2021 at 01:50:22
52 Posted 01/06/2021 at 01:52:06
If you read books written by players like Leon Osman and Tim Cahill, they speak of how great they were to play with injuries, injections etc. I'd be rightly pissed off sitting on the bench with a team mate playing at 75% capacity. In Ossie's case looking back, there were days when he seemed very sluggish, other days where he was very lively. The sluggish days were regularly picked up on ToffeeWeb. It was amazing he could play at all with one leg a few centimetres shorter than the other.
Nice YouTube compilation of James's Everton goals and assists here Link
53 Posted 01/06/2021 at 02:32:12
That's interesting information. Walter Smith got a lot of stick for patching people up, injecting them with pain killers and sending them out to play. Moyes seemed to have less bad luck with injuries but, if he was having his doctors freely dispense injections, then that adds a darker aspect to his legacy. Moyes Memory Out! But in all seriousness, it does make you wonder.
This year WHU were lucky in that their first 11 seemingly steered clear of injuries. Now I am wondering... The thing is, there's a fine line between patching someone up, and screwing up their health long-term, eg, Michael Ball's knee under Smith. I am wondering now where Moyes falls...?
54 Posted 01/06/2021 at 02:35:51
Now he's had a proper boot in the plums from the Colombia manager after having been private-jetted over there with the eternal "tiredness" the rest of us at Everton have had to try to get used to.
So, what's he now going to do next season? Graft like never before (for us of course) in a bid to force himself into the 2022 World Cup competition, even though his country has a mere four points from four matches, standing 7th as South American qualifiers – with a seriously negative goal difference to Chile in 6th, only five countries maybe, at an unknown best, due to qualify?
Or might he take full account of everything from the length of his hair to the length of his toenails before deciding whether or not he wants to be an actual professional multi-millionaire footballer for a club with passionate fans with a very open heart to any tremendously talented footballer pulling his tripe out in their, and his own of course, cause?
55 Posted 01/06/2021 at 09:43:10
Yes, very good selection of goals and assists. I enjoyed them all, but getting back to his fitness and his usefulness to Everton. I think the lad has a massive ego and he plays when he wants to play, when he deems himself fit to play, always with himself in mind. He plays for James; he is not a team player where Everton are concerned.
He will not push himself for the Blues, but will do anything to play for Colombia and the glory and admiration he gets from their fans. That's how he comes across to me.
56 Posted 01/06/2021 at 10:42:39
Danny Donachie confirmed that he was indeed injured for the final two game of the season and there was no way he could play. Donachie also confirmed that Everton advised that he miss the two world cup qualifiers but that he would fit for the Copa America.
57 Posted 01/06/2021 at 10:55:56
58 Posted 01/06/2021 at 11:19:00
Kieran #53, The Michael Ball case is the perfect example. Here we have a club asset and we risk that asset to the point where it is worthless. What other business would allow an executive to put a company asset at risk to render it worthless - ok, maybe the drug trade
As others have pointed out, we got James on a free, because he had persistent injuries, same reason we got Delph on the cheap. He's not going to play every match. He's our most skilled player by a long way. We as supporters should be getting behind him and supporting him and the club, accepting that if our medical team think he is unfit, he is. The medical team have a responsiblity to the club to act responsibly and manage the club's assets.
59 Posted 01/06/2021 at 12:58:56
You're right Kieran, when fit, Saha was one of our best players at that time and his talent was never in question.
Similar to James, I always wanted Saha on the pitch way more than he was.What I always thought about him is that he was a player who wouldn't play if he got a sniff of an injury. An impression, because just as with James, I obviously don't have / didn't have insider information. It's what gave me food for thought in the parallels.
Now, some would say that is wise, as to play with an injury can lead to more serious injury, more so in the modern game. So he was looking after himself to prolong his career. Others would call them out for not playing through the pain barrier. Always an interesting debate to have; probably a separate one to be fair.
But, that's the limitations of having a thin and threadbare squad full of average players. You notice more when those players don't play. There is more reliance on them because the other players aren't good enough and don't give you what they do when they are on the pitch.
Which leads to Dave Abraham's call out. At places like Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, you can use and enjoy these types of players (James) but it doesn't get noticed as much if they are absent. Because the quality of squad is better and even if they are fit more often, you don't have to use them as often. Which for players like them who struggle, keeps them fitter for longer and for the right fixtures.
We need more depth of quality in our squad so we can enjoy players like this when they do play. Not just the random numbers game we've played in recent years. We need better quality in the team, better quality throughout the squad.
I appreciate I'm asking for the seemingly impossible, certainly in the short-term. But then ask a 1980s Chelsea fan or 1990s City fan if they ever thought it possible.
I don't know if this manager or this owner is the one to do it. But if we want Everton back on that platform, that's what the task is. Bring in better quality and build a squad that has better quality throughout.
Apologies for stating the blindingly obvious, but the longer we go on relying on the next half decent kid coming out of Finch Farm, this will be an endless cycle. Get back on the footballing map and that will come, but right now, we need a more immediate fix.
60 Posted 01/06/2021 at 14:02:17
61 Posted 01/06/2021 at 14:42:56
62 Posted 01/06/2021 at 15:14:25
63 Posted 01/06/2021 at 16:41:25
64 Posted 15/06/2021 at 11:15:24
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