The Luxury

James Rodriguez is one of the best players of his generation; a Rolls Royce of a player at a club blighted by so much mediocrity in the modern era. Sadly, he looks to be a luxury Everton can no longer afford.

Lyndon Lloyd 09/08/2021 87comments  |  Jump to last

Few impending signings have generated as much excitement as James Rodriguez did last summer as what was floated as a vague possibility, due to his past association with Carlo Ancelotti, coalesced into a viable transfer option for Everton and then, of course, ended with the Colombian's arrival on 7 September. 2014 World Cup Golden Boot winner, £63m-plus Galactico, and bona fide global star, James was the most naturally-gifted player the Blues have signed in the modern era.

Under Ancelotti, the feeling was that, if he could stay fit enough for long enough, James could prove to be a transformative presence at Everton in a new-look midfield that had been bolstered by the acquisition of Allan from Napoli and Abdoulaye Doucouré from Watford. And for a few giddy weeks at the start of 2020-21, it looked as though the Blues were finally destined to achieve something of note as they became the early pace-setters in the Premier League and won their first seven matches in all competitions with their new star at the height of it all.

Rodriguez scored three goals in that time and was the beating heart in a team brimming with goals and excitement but, starting with the fall-out from the Goodison derby that followed the international break, things unravelled in disturbingly quick — and very Evertonian — fashion. Jordan Pickford was pilloried for his role in ending Virgil van Dijk's season, Richarlison picked up a damaging three-game suspension for a horrible lunge on Thiago Alcantara and James himself was injured by Van Dijk's own cynical “tackle” early in the proceedings.

The Colombian would start the next match, a miserable 2-0 defeat at Southampton, but it was clear he was nowhere near right and the injury seemed to affect him for weeks afterwards until his troublesome calf problem flared up in December. Indeed, between the home game against Liverpool and his brilliant goal against Leicester in late January 2021, he didn't find the net once or register a single assist, his effectiveness much diminished as Everton struggled for consistency under Ancelotti, especially at home.

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That dreadful home form would, sadly, come to define Ancelotti's only full season as Everton boss and it didn't help that James was only available for eight games at Goodison Park from New Year's Day onwards, the Colombian's increasing absence and seeming disengagement another feature of the second-half of 2020-21.

On the whole, it was a difficult spell for the team, with creativity in desperately short supply and a general lack of attacking cohesion plaguing the team against a backdrop of key absences for the likes of Allan and Doucouré. They weren't ideal conditions for a player trying to stay fit and adapt to a new environment, a new team, and a new system in more physical league. Rodriguez's need to pace himself — “save” himself even — during matches was at odds with the generally expected blood-sweat-and-tears maxim that drives supporter expectation at Goodison.

In that sense, he was the quintessential luxury player, one who appeared to make sense for a team managed by Ancelotti and when the full first-choice XI was available… but that was rare. Too often, the team generally struggled to move the ball forward effectively and James floundered, easily targeted by opposition sides who closed him down, worked out his signature cross-field passes and exploited the spaces he left behind him when the Toffees didn't have the ball.

And yet he could produce moments of magic that not only secured vital points but which hinted at the dynamic presence he could be in 2021-22 with more quality around him and, hopefully, a better fitness record. That strike against the Champions League-chasing Foxes, another expertly-taken goal against Old Trafford against Manchester United and a sumptuous assist at Anfield that set Everton on their way to a first away win against Liverpool since 1999 were moments of undoubted quality that set James apart from the rest of the squad.

Rodriguez's continued presence at Goodison wasn't assured even had Ancelotti stayed at the club. He admitted that the physicality of the English league was something he was trying to get used to and there will always be suitors for players of his quality and what many took to be a lack of commitment to the cause at the back end of last season soured his image among Evertonians.

He played just once in the final seven matches of the season, his absence variously explained as being due to his calf problem or plain fatigue, before he flew back to Colombia before the campaign's last fixture, the discomfort among fans heightened by an Instagram photo of James reclining on a bed in a luxury jet somewhere over the Atlantic.

It was a disappointingly neat summation of the dilemma that James presents to a club in Everton's current position, particularly now that Ancelotti has left and the Premier League's profit-and-sustainability rules are starting to bite hard. The Blues can't spend the way they would need to surround Rodriguez with the talent that would support him and make him feel more at home. But without it, h can never re-find his best form and, as a result, won't ever truly be happy on Merseyside.

The 30-year-old has openly admitted that he only signed because of his former manager so, despite the fact that he dresses his kids in Toffees gear, he probably holds no real affection for the club, a situation not helped by the fact that he has yet to experience a packed and passionate Goodison Park. Everton hasn't been able to “touch” James in that way and yet even once he gets to experience the Grand Old Lady 40,000 strong, he likely won't blink if a high-profile team from Serie A or La Liga comes calling.

Everton, of course, could do with the transfer fee to give them precious wiggle-room in the market in the remaining weeks of the summer transfer window. As the misinformation, speculation and obfuscation that had James costing £20m but taking a pay-cut to join has morphed into him being a free transfer after all but, according to the most recent reporting, drawing north of a lofty but unlikely £200,000 a week in wages, the financial aspect at even half that figure is a huge calculation for the club and it no doubt explains why Rafael Benitez has said that James isn't central to his plans this season.

As yet, despite press reports claiming that and his agent, Jorge Mendes, has been hawking him around Europe, no willing buyer has emerged, those salary demands and his chequered fitness record giving many teams pause. Blues fans appear resigned to him leaving before the transfer deadline but there is a definite possibility that Rodriguez could still be at the club for the next few months at least.

That poses the risk of having an unmotivated player on the books in a side that, at present, doesn't look as though it will be augmented by further quality this summer without additional sales and under a manager with whom James hasn't always seen eye-to-eye.

But it also presents an opportunity to fashion the team around his undoubted talent and, rather than stick him out wide where his defensive deficiencies make him an obvious weakness, deploy him as a genuine No.10 (and give him that squad number as well, please!) behind two reliable goal scorers and with the all-important outlet of genuine wingers at his disposal. Provided he can stay fit to play between 25-plus games, his genius could yet be one of the few high spots in a season that already looks to be one of austerity and consolidation.

His susceptibility to injury, of course, is always the big caveat and when his cost-of-ownership is factored in, it might be the biggest force pushing him towards the exit door. Unless his departure paves the way for the signing of a real difference-maker, it would be a massive shame to lose him. James Rodriguez is one of the best players of his generation, one capable of winning a game on his own and, again, a potentially joy-inspiring counter to the negativity surrounding the appointment of Benitez. A Rolls Royce of a player at a club blighted by so much mediocrity in the modern era. If he stays, surely it behooves club, manager and team-mates alike to put everything behind him and make his second and final season at Everton one to remember for all concerned?

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Reader Comments (87)

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Paul Hewitt
1 Posted 09/08/2021 at 18:36:55
Paying £200k for a 30 year old with a terrible injury record is plain stupid. Yes he's a great player, but we need players that can Atleast play most of the season. Getting his wages off the books would free up wages for Atleast 3 new players.
Barry Hesketh
2 Posted 09/08/2021 at 18:40:32
Yes, Paul it would be if it were true, however, many seem to think it is somewhere between 90k and £140k.

James Rodríguez earns £140,000 per week, £7,280,000 per year playing for Everton as a M/AM (RLC). James Rodríguez's net worth is £69,836,000. James Rodríguez is 29 years old and was born in Colombia. His current contract expires June 30, 2022.
Career Earnings:
Year Weekly Wage Yearly Salary Club Position League Age Contract Expiry
2021 £140,000 £7,280,000 Everton M/AM (RLC) Premier League 29 30-06-2022
2020 £215,000 £11,180,000 Real Madrid M/AM (RLC) La Liga 28 30-06-2020
2019 £224,000 £11,648,000 R. Madrid M/AM (RLC) Bundesliga 27 30-06-2019
2018 £190,000 £9,880,000 R. Madrid M/AM (RLC) German First Division 26 30-06-2019
2017 £184,000 £9,568,000 R. Madrid M/AM (RLC) La Liga 25 29-06-2020
2016 £170,000 £8,840,000 Real Madrid C.F. M/AM (RLC) LIGA BBVA 24 29-06-2020
2015 £177,000 £9,204,000 Real Madrid C.F. M/AM (RLC) LIGA BBVA 23 29-06-2020
2014 £43,000 £2,236,000 AS Monaco Football Club SA M/AM (RLC) Ligue 1 22 29-06-2018

Jim Lloyd
3 Posted 09/08/2021 at 18:44:07
Good article Lyndon.

It's a toss up whether anyone will pay his wages and a transfer fee. He, as far as I know, hasn't been told he can go (has he?) So we have a player in a bit of a no man's land. I think that if he stays, there are possibilities for him playing an integral part of the team/squad.

I think along the lines that you've mentioned. A team, or at least a formation, could be used that would allow James to use his talents, which vastly improve the team's approach to putting the ball in the net.

You call it a No10 but I'll use the term schemer, as that's got meaning for me. But I think it amounts to the same thing.

You mention him being not much of a runner, and that's probably true, but he can make up for that with his killer passes and eye for a goal making chance. We have two reliable goalscoreres, Richarlison (if he stays) and Calvert Lewin. We also have two players to attack and defend on either wing, Townsend ansd Gray and we have at least one fullback, Digne, to hopefully build a leftwing partnership with one of them.

It's probably a pipedream, but all of a sudden, we can bring Richarlison where he likes to be, alongside Calvert Lewin It gives us a decent looking attack, with a supplier to any one of those four, plus the fullbacks.
The players in the midfield? Well it is hopefully looking good for Gbamin, Townsend and Gray are very athletic, so it's possible to look at a further number of options between, Allan, Doucouré, Tom Davies, and Gomes.

Gomes, if he can improve is mobility, could be another clever player to give the rest of the team options.

I'm not sure Seamas, can be expected to last the full 90 all season, so we might have another player in by then end of the transfer window.

It shows me that we could use James and have plenty of options to available to vary our tactics depending on how the game is going.

One thing for sure, it will be a long time before we see such a skilful player grace Goodison Park again.

Potentially, the best player I will have seen since Alex Young graced the pitch, that's high praise from me.

Danny O’Neill
4 Posted 09/08/2021 at 18:53:20
Very balanced Lyndon.

Personally, I think we need more luxury players, not less of them. And I don't mean 11 luxury players all out on the park at once. A balanced team that accommodates a few stars.

I think it is telling you call out the absences of Allan and Doucoure, which in conjunction with the loss of form, confidence or injury of James pretty much gives an explanation to our failure under Ancellotti last season. Because let's face it, that's what he bought alongside Godfrey. He didn't think the existing team / squad were going to cut it as they haven't been for years.

I hope this player stays. I hope Goodison get to see and enjoy him. I watched Everton win titles and a European trophy. I haven't seen a player in an Everton shirt this gifted since Kevin Sheedy.

If we don't want luxury, we don't want titles. Let's go and buy some Lee Carsleys and Marcus Bents.

Rob Halligan
5 Posted 09/08/2021 at 19:01:34
Danny, I doubt very much he will be gone before the weekend, so barring any injury, you, me and 39K others should hopefully get to see him play.
Denis Richardson
6 Posted 09/08/2021 at 19:49:20
Nice article Lyndon.

For me its quite straight forward. He's the best player we have and if we can get him fit he'll get us enough point to justify his wages. The VVD injury last year was quite a painful one in the nether regions so not a surprise he was out a while.

Hopefully Benitez can get him in shape and play him in the middle. With the likes of Richarlison, Grey and Townsend providing pace and willingness to run, Rodriguez' passing ability will be a real asset. Just give him the ball in the middle and let him pick out the runners.

I hope he stays and helps us to get a few wins at the start of the season. Our first half dozen games are all winnable so heres hoping.

Pat Kelly
7 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:07:05
He's another waste of space foisted on us by Ancelotti. Along with Allan. Ancelotti must be having a right laugh lumbering us with those two at significant salary cost while he does a runner. James was never strong enough for the PL but why turn down 200K a week when you don't even have to play.
Peter Mills
8 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:16:18
It’s hard to see anyone paying a transfer fee and matching his current salary, so let’s keep him. Play him mostly in home games, where guile rather than than speed is needed to break down the opponent’s defence. And let us fans have a little joy watching a maestro.
Tony Everan
9 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:20:19
A Chanel handbag on the arm of a back street scrubber.

Seriously, Everton need a player like James Rodriguez to get to the next level. A class player. Someone whose brain matches his feet with an elite footballer’s instinct.

Sadly, with this current incarnation of Everton we are weaker with him in the team. It’s heartbreaking to say it , the reason being is that we don’t have the fast, physical and technical players required to accommodate him.

Paul Swan
10 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:28:07
Selfishly I hope he’s still here at the weekend to play. This is the sort of player that gets people out of their seat and any football fan should want that. However, it will be a different proposition for him playing in front of a full house already wound up to breaking point over other matters so far. Any lack of effort by him or any of the current slackers is going to be jumped on straight away. Jury still out for me regarding Allan, saw him live at the Wolves game and he was garbage. Would be wise to stock up on Strepsils and TCP because one way or the other there will be many lost voices Sunday morning…
Danny O’Neill
11 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:29:51
I hope I see him Saturday Rob.

What would you rather see Pat?


Pat Kelly
12 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:33:12
Danny, someone worthy of £200k a week who can be at least half-arsed about playing for us.
Conor McCourt
13 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:34:09
Lyndon I presumed the same as you in the number ten role and looked at his stats

Number ten 8 games 2 goals, no assists
Rw/Rm 10 games 4 goals,3 assists

Big problem he seems to play better and be more dangerous on the right when things are going well but a complete liability when not. You move him into the number ten role and he's no longer a liability but isn't the same player.

James Stewart
14 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:40:13
He's not on £200k p/w, that's complete nonsense.

What is the point in selling him for £20M when we are signing the likes of Begovic, Gray and Townsend? What are we planning to do with that money? Because we certainly won't be buying anyone of similar quality for £20M.

Ian Bennett
15 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:45:43
Agreed James Stewart.

James is capable of 10 assists and 8-10 goals. We had Iwobi and Bernard on more combined wages that contributed nothing like that.

Keep James, and offload those that aren't contributing elsewhere.

Lee Courtliff
16 Posted 09/08/2021 at 20:58:59
All those years under Moyes we whinged about not having that creative genius who could unlock a we have one we want to sell him!!

4-2-3-1 at home with James as a 10.

4-3-3 away with James used as an impact sub would do me nicely.

Obviously, this depends on the opposition. City at home would probably require 3 hard working midfielders.

Mal van Schaick
17 Posted 09/08/2021 at 21:05:07
If he's contracted and we are paying him, he has to play. If we can sell him, good.

I didn't like his attitude against Man Utd, he was lazy and sulking after 20 minutes.

He might have a cultured left foot but, when things aren't going his way or we are behind, he has no fighting spirit.

John Raftery
18 Posted 09/08/2021 at 21:11:50
I think there is a fair chance we will see him perform on Saturday. He is a luxury player; no team can afford more than one of those. I believe he would be very effective in a team comprising water carriers plus a few with the pace to get on the end of his passes. The signings so far and one or two of those projected suggest that is what Benitez is building towards.

James’s assists and goals last season helped us register a ten points improvement on the previous season. Had he lasted the full campaign we might well have qualified for Europe. A lot of ifs, buts, and maybes for sure but we are highly unlikely to see another player with anything like his skill set in the foreseeable future.

Jim Lloyd
19 Posted 09/08/2021 at 21:44:49
I don't think there's anything at all wrong with Gray, Townsend and Begovic. They're squad players and the two outfield players are both better than Iwobi. They also offer us a chance to see Richarlison play in the middle alongside Dom.

What am I saying!! We'd have a fast attack, that'll never do, and a creative genius behind them. That'll never do.

Barry Rathbone
20 Posted 09/08/2021 at 21:46:31
Love "proper" footballers and James is one but, sadly, he is not complete.

He lacks the physical dimension of robustness, pace and strength on the ball traits that killed his career at Bayern and Real. Top level clubs won't "carry" players but we do no matter, age, ability or commitment.

It is a key reason why we are a basket case club

Dennis Stevens
21 Posted 09/08/2021 at 21:49:30
Danny #4, I take your point & largely agree. However, I'd love to add a Lee Carsley &, to a lesser extent, a Marcus Bent to this squad.
Danny Broderick
22 Posted 09/08/2021 at 23:21:02
Rodriguez, even though he had injury problems, contributed far more in the games he played last season than many players we have had earning top dollar - the likes of Schneiderlin, Walcott, Sigurdsson.

Play him in Sigurdsson’s role, and let him take some of the set pieces like Sigurdsson does. Even if he only plays 2/3 of the games, he will get us at least 10 goals and 10 assists. But he will get on the ball far more than Sigurdsson and make far more progressive passes.

The problem at Everton is not Rodriguez. Get legs and pace around him and he will get space to remind everyone what a good player he still is.

Phil Smith
23 Posted 09/08/2021 at 23:42:41
Wow, talk about polarising opinions. I get both side of the argument, but ffs lads! He HAS to stay. He makes magic happen and that’s why I, at least, love watching football. Goals and chances created gets us going. This guy can get us both. I want entertainment, not just winning the way Carlo did last year. Benitez will be trying to get rid. I have a feeling he’ll be sacked before the end of the season. Hope I’m wrong on both accounts.
Ian Riley
24 Posted 09/08/2021 at 23:47:21
James has all the skill!! The team lacks the players to do the hard work!! Breaking up play! When people say we need a Carsley back! Yes we do! Top sides have those hard-working players who without aren't going forward. We are not strong enough to carry James for 80 minutes.We don't have the leaders to have a word when his head is low, not in the mood! Top teams have characters whom expect more whoever you are!

Rafa either gets more from James or let's him go. Mal#17 you summed it up! Summer resting and didn't want to know after 20 minutes Saturday. This season is a battle and we need James but he must be prepared to put a shift in. Remember top teams have more workers than luxury players! Win the battle then play!! Perhaps James needs the last 30 minutes when defenders are tired.

Next season is about working hard and cutting the mistakes out. James must take responsibility as one of the most experienced players in our team! His body language reflects on the team! Come on James be our hero next season!!!

Frank Wolfe
25 Posted 10/08/2021 at 00:51:14
Great player but I don't think he's suited to the Prem Lge especially at this stage in his career. He doesn't even look that interested anymore. I'd rather have a young upcoming player out to proved themselves.
Dave Bowen
26 Posted 10/08/2021 at 01:24:37
With the possible exception of Kanchelskis, James is easily the best player we’ve had since Kevin Sheedy. Now most of you want to get shut of him. Of course we have Gomes, Iwobi & maybe Siggy. Well that’s worked out well so far hasn’t it? Townsend & Gray are good runners & working off James’s passes hopefully those two will put it on a plate for DCL & Richy. I know he didn’t get on with Rafa at Real, but it would be a crying shame not to see a bona-fide world class talent in a blue shirt at Goodson.
Bob Parrington
27 Posted 10/08/2021 at 01:24:59
Great pity if we feel we have to let him go. Real game changer. But, if we do let him leave, it would be for a decent size fee hopefully. We need a top quality play maker quick smart.
Derek Thomas
28 Posted 10/08/2021 at 01:54:14
If he's fit and functioning, he's too good to leave out - just. If he's less than that, sadly, we're not good enough to carry him - just.

Which James will we get on any given Saturday? I'm not sure even he knows. Due to his wages... unless somebody else gets a sudden rush of blood to the wallet, we seem destined to have him for the season.

Use him if we can, but be prepared to hook him off early if he's not doing it... a bit harsh? maybe.
Perhaps we can play the Macho card back at him... can't do it? - What’s up McFly? Chicken?

Mike Gaynes
29 Posted 10/08/2021 at 03:03:40
Barry #2, thanks and nice try, but the "£200k" fairy tale (Paul, Pat, etc. etc. etc.) will continue to pop up no matter how many times it is knocked back.

Lyndon, good article, but you and others are still persisting with the "move him to #10" theory without regard for the fact that he's already a #10 -- a natural distributor and fairly frequent goalscorer -- but he instinctively gravitates to the flank to perform this role, moving inside only to make a final pass or shoot. He has always played this way.

Conor #13 is right (and hey, Conor, how often do I say THAT, eh?) that he's not the same player when he's positioned in the middle and told to stay there. The solution isn't to force him to play in the center of the pitch. The solution is to let him operate in his natural neighborhood and assign his wing defensive duties to someone else.

Whatever else he is, Rafa's smart. If he wants James in the lineup, he'll figure it out.

Mike Gaynes
30 Posted 10/08/2021 at 03:08:01
"I'd rather have a young upcoming player out to proved themselves."

Not if you want to win games, you don't.

We've got lots of young players who want to prove themselves. If one of them had been on the ball that day at Anfield instead of James, we'd still be winless at Anfield.

Bobby Mallon
31 Posted 10/08/2021 at 05:31:55
Well said Mike Gaynes
Danny O’Neill
32 Posted 10/08/2021 at 06:17:00
Pat @12; I woke with high expectations this morning and your answer has just deflated me. Someone! Come on, give me something; anyone!!

Dennis @21. I meant no disrespect to Lee Carsley. Good player and every team needs one or two. Maybe better quality Lee Carsleys, but needed when we talk about balancing the team to accommodate players like James. Marcus Bent - no, although that last minute equaliser at Southampton was special!

Lyndon Lloyd
33 Posted 10/08/2021 at 06:22:44
Mike (29), agreed on James's preference... which really is to pop up wherever he pleases which, at times last season, was far too deep. I was referring more to the manager's chosen shape which, under Ancelotti, was to deploy James wide on the right with no-one covering that flank ahead of Coleman.

If there is someone who nominally starts in right midfield but who rotates out of that position to allow James to do his thing but is also there to cover from a defensive standpoint, then it could work.

My feeling is that, as long as he is here, we need to build the team to his strengths and stroke his ego. It's not the Everton way but he's a unique case – we've invested in him to this point so we need to accommodate his particular temperament if he is to remain at the club because of what he can do when he's in the mood.

Of course, when things aren't going well, he's tough to watch!

Darren Hind
34 Posted 10/08/2021 at 06:50:15
When James signed there was much debate here about the reason for him coming. I left no stone un-turned trying to find out how much he earned.

It was widely reported that he was actually taking a pay cut. This seems pretty incontestable. On investigation, it turned out that, because he was getting a longer contract than the one he was on, it meant he could earn more here than he could by staying in limbo.

You can never know what "bonuses" may be offered to a player, but we can be sure as hell (or we should be able to) that no Everton player was paid much bonus last season.

James earned £90k a week. Worry about his frailties by all means, but stop fretting about his wages.

The worry about James is that he cannot protect the full-back when he plays out wide, but play out wide he must. That's were we REALLY see his brilliance.

Seamus isn't getting any younger, but I am certain he will not let anybody down. However; The opposition will be queueing up to get down his wing if Rafa doesnt find a way to offer him protection.

That’s why he is paid the big bucks.

Darren Hind
35 Posted 10/08/2021 at 06:51:51
You beat me to it Lyndon
Conor McCourt
36 Posted 10/08/2021 at 07:38:06
Mike @29- Don't do that Mike. I'm only 42 and you nearly gave me a bloody heart attack!!
Steve Shave
37 Posted 10/08/2021 at 07:46:23
Darren @34, that was my understanding at the time too. I read he'd taken a substantial pay cut to be here and it was widely speculated that the reason there was an initial hold-up in his signature was image rights, bonuses etc which he did not get at Real Madrid.

He was brilliant on the right at the beginning of the season; I question, however, if even a marauder such as Dumfries could protect the space that got so exposed once we got found out.

Frank Sheppard
38 Posted 10/08/2021 at 08:03:56
If Allan and Doucouré can stay fit, plus one other as an injury replacement for those two, then I would have thought there is room for a luxury/turn the game type player. I hope he stays the season, and turns it on for us.
Danny O’Neill
39 Posted 10/08/2021 at 08:11:28
I'd say similar to above. Just let him roam. The best formation for that will be 4-2-3-1.

Midfield options as it stands are Allan, Doucouré, Davies, Gomes and Gbamin. I don't think that's too shabby to be honest. We have more pace in the wide areas of the supporting front 3 in Gray, Richarlison, Townsend (yes!!). Supported by Digne overlapping and Dumfries (if I keep saying it??!!).

Then just let James roam in the middle and do his thing. When fit obviously.

Eddie Dunn
40 Posted 10/08/2021 at 08:40:30
Frank- the problem would be that Doucoure and Allan have been woefull towards the end of last season (and not much better last week). The midfield is our big problem and James will not get the ball from this gang..which is why he kept coming deep last season.
Sam Hoare
41 Posted 10/08/2021 at 08:40:39
I think if a decent bid came in then Rafa/Brands would take it but I don’t think it will. When match fit he’s easily one of our best players. But Benitez highly prizes work rate and organisation so it will be interesting to see how that pans out.

Personally I’d always try to find space for him with fast legs and energy around him to make up for any shortcomings but I’m not sure that the route Rafa will go.

Mike Oates
42 Posted 10/08/2021 at 08:58:16
Rodriquez won’t play on Saturday. Benitez needs a fully committed performance from the team for his first home game. He’ll want 10 outfield players willing to give their all - and that’s what the fans will want.
Expect to see a crowded midfield with a solitary striker.
Benitez to me hasn’t got faith in Doucoure Davies or Gomes, all of whom give the ball away far too much, but at least they’ll put a shift in when we are under the cosh - Rodriquez won’t, can’t.
So I’m expecting a 4:4:2 with Gbamin and Allan as central pair, Gray and Townsend as wide, and hopefully if fit DCL and Kean upfront.
Rodriquez will be on the bench and will be given game time if we’re winning or desperately searching for a goal.

He’s a class act but you just have to work in today’s game, unless your name is Messi.

Paul Tran
43 Posted 10/08/2021 at 09:26:39
If he stays, let him do what he wants. He creates chances and scores a few goals. Nobody else does that as consistently as James.

I'm fine with Allan & Doucoure. Both were brought back too early and run into the ground by Ancelotti, who clearly didn't trust any of the other midfielders. I hope Benitez has them driving forwards and giving Jemes space to do his magic, rather than having them sit back and invite the other team to score like Ancelotti did way too often.

Ray Robinson
44 Posted 10/08/2021 at 09:41:09
Mike #42, you expect Kean and DCL, if fit, up front in a 4-4-2 but Benitez to play with a solitary striker. How does that fit?

I expect Rodriguez to feature st some point. Even rhino-skinned Benitez must surely realise that he can't afford to totally alienate the crowd from match day 1. That said, I'm not sure that occasional flashes of brilliance are worth keeping in the long run, given the inconsistency, lack of pace and proneness to injury. He is indeed a luxury in a team that needs to graft.

Dave Abrahams
45 Posted 10/08/2021 at 09:44:40
Paul (43), Paul he’s been doing what he wants since he got here, including deciding whether he is fit or not although he could be useful for part of the game, starting and putting some action in for an hour or so, or coming on as a substitute later in the game. That will please a good majority of the fans and if he comes on or starts I honestly hope he produces one of his good games and we all go home happy with a win and memories of his performance.
Brian Harrison
46 Posted 10/08/2021 at 09:57:46
I know this is completely off topic but I think that for our first home game on Saturday, we could have major problems for those who have got their season ticket on an app on their phone. I think it might be an idea for Lyndon or Michael to have a chat to the fan groups of Liverpool supporters who have had to use this method of entry in both their friendly games. Both games had to have the kick off time delayed because of the problems caused by this new style season ticket, some got in well after the game had started and some couldn't gain entry at all. Their supporter groups have asked that those who didn't get entry be allowed a refund, and they have asked the club for a meeting about this issue. They have had 2 friendlies using this system and still haven't got it right, were we have had no trial run so I am expecting similar problems on Saturday.
Danny O’Neill
47 Posted 10/08/2021 at 10:26:46
I had a similar message off my brother this morning Brian. We haven't got season tickets, just tickets for the match. Although trying to download it on the App is challenging me and I consider myself technical!!

He mentioned the Liverpool matches and said to get there early. I hope that doesn't spark an early stampede to the Goodison Supper Bar.

Stan Schofield
48 Posted 10/08/2021 at 13:26:47
Everton need to get rid of Rodriguez pronto. In fact, the trouble with Everton is they never have got rid of this type of luxury player quickly enough. They should have ditched Alex Young before he became the Golden Vision, Colin Harvey before he became the White Pele, the Holy Trinity before they became….. the Holy Trinity, Kevin Sheedy before he started showing off with his ridiculous skills, and so on.

Sorry, I just flitted into a parallel quantum universe in which Everton have always been shite.

Terence Leong
49 Posted 10/08/2021 at 13:49:26
It's a travesty if the team cannot accommodate one flair player. And not just any flair player, one who at his best, is still able to deliver the goods, and get people out of their seats.

As shown by many here, his contributions are at least comparable, if not superior, to some of the supposedly more hardworking players who 'graft for the shirt'.

Many of the comments here are well argued (both ways); nevertheless, I hope he can stay, play for the team, and I believe, on the whole, we are all better for it.

Steve Brown
50 Posted 10/08/2021 at 13:58:08
Sell the Rolls-Royce and buy another Lada...

He contributed 6 goals and 4 assists last season, so find a team shape that works best to accommodate his talent and gives him freedom to pop up where he sees an opportunity. The claim that he doesn't try when he is selected is the opposite of what I have seen when he has played.

John McFarlane Snr
57 Posted 10/08/2021 at 14:53:25
Hi Dave [45], I left a comment for you on the 'Pickford Howler' thread that you may find interesting.

Hi Stan [48], you appear to have overlooked that other waste of space, Peter Beardsley, who played in the exciting team that finished 12th in 91-92 and 13th in 92-93.

Danny O’Neill
59 Posted 10/08/2021 at 15:31:13
10th May 1986 was a dark day Brian. I still have flash backs now.

Only 7 days after smashing Southampton 6 - 1 at Goodison. I recall the false smoke signals coming from the Main Stand from my spot in the lower Gwladys making us believe the result at Chelsea was going our way, giving us the hope we could still clinch the title.


What are the odds on Everton 6 Southampton 1 for Saturday?

Jerome Shields
61 Posted 10/08/2021 at 16:02:25
Lyndon, I still think Everton need a creative player, amongst some ordinary players, to get enough results to progress or even to stay where they are this season. Rodriguez may be a luxury player, but he is still needed at Everton.

One thing about James that can be said is that, given a chance, he can and will finish. How many other Everton players can that be said about?

Bill Hawker
66 Posted 10/08/2021 at 16:34:49
I find it fascinating that there are Evertonians who want rid of him, not for some illegitimate reasons I might add, when we have several players being paid very well and don't produce near what he does for a full season.

Lyndon is right that it's a dilemma but let me also add one thing to the mix. Having a high profile player like James at our club certainly helps. It gives us more exposure in markets we might not otherwise have been able to really penetrate. Just seeing how many people came out to the Florida Cup and to see the reception he got let me know (if I already didn't) that we have a very special player on our hands. Building the Everton brand, especially with a new stadium in the works, to me, is important (although certainly not as important as what's done on the pitch.)

That said...

I get the issues regarding injuries. Is that something that will plague him the rest of his career? It could but I personally think it's worth the risk. I doubt we could sell him anyway due to his wage bill/fitness record so we may as well do our best to get him healthy. If Rafa wants rid of him, then fine but again, who's buying? As it stands, he is our ONLY creative player on the ball who causes real trouble for defenses.

At the end of the day, I'll assert that a James Rodriguez who is healthy for say, half our matches is better than many of our players who are healthy for all of our matches. I hope the reception he gets at Goodison motivates him to do his best for us, stay healthy, and propel us up the table (and, possibly get him a good move if he wants one.)

Jay Hughes
67 Posted 10/08/2021 at 17:39:47
There’s no point discussing James cos Rafa won’t play him anyway.
Mike Gaynes
68 Posted 10/08/2021 at 17:43:34
I remember when some folks here considered Lukaku a dispensable "luxury" because they didn't fancy his work rate.

Now we're going to have to play against him twice a year.

Fuck me!

Danny O’Neill
69 Posted 10/08/2021 at 17:53:15
Yep. Luxury, Mike, because he consistently scored 20+ goals a season!!

[Shakes head.]

Mark Taylor
70 Posted 10/08/2021 at 18:01:28
For a delicious couple of months last season, with Allan and Doucouré looking like we finally had bought something good for our money, Gomes having a minor renaissance, Calvert-Lewin finishing like Lineker, and James doing his thing, I thought that I might – after 30 plus years –finally be supporting a side to get excited about.

It all fizzled out way too fast, and I actually fear for us in the coming season, but a small bit of me wonders if the magic dust could be spread again...?

Brent Stephens
71 Posted 10/08/2021 at 18:07:35
Mike #68,

Yes, Lukaku will probably get a couple of his so-called lucky, miss-hit goals against us. You know, the sort that he gets after beating a couple of defenders – twenty-odd times a season.

Dave Abrahams
73 Posted 10/08/2021 at 18:17:54
Brent (71) “ After beating a couple of defenders - twenty odd times a season” you’re going into Corporal Jones’s mode there Brent, realms of fantasy.

Although I remember his fantasy goal versus Middlesborough, he never touched it but claimed it and it was awarded to him!!

Mike Gaynes
77 Posted 10/08/2021 at 18:26:56
Dave, the "fantasy" about my man Rom was that we would ever have another player who could do this:

Or that he wouldn't become one of the best in the world after he left us. Which he has.

Brent Stephens
78 Posted 10/08/2021 at 18:29:30
Dave - poetic license! I was remembering his goal against Chelsea that somebody called a scuff goal!
Paul Jones
79 Posted 10/08/2021 at 18:50:02
If you know your history.

It's enough to make your mask go Baaa Baaa Baaa Baaaa.
We don't care what the red sheep say.
What the flock do we care?
Cause we only know, that there's gonna be a show.
And the vaccinated sheeples will be there!!!!!

[Just thought Mark's insane rant merited some actual lyrics.]

Darren Hind
80 Posted 10/08/2021 at 19:02:31
Lukaku did not consistently score 20+ a season. He only did it once with us and he failed to do it at Chelsea. Man Utd and West Brom. Outside his best season, he averaged 14 goals a season in the Premier League.

He will be back around that mark when he returns to this league and I'm backing our Championship-at-best forward to score more than him.

Evertonians disliked Lukaku and gave him stick because he was a self-serving lazy fucker who disrespected the club from the day Martinez rescued his career when West Brom were the only other takers.

Calvert-Lewin will play for a negative team and will get far less chances than Lukaku. But I'll be taking the mug odds the bookies will offer when I back him to win his personal duel with a guy who would have won many more medals... if he wasn't such a lard arse permanently on the lookout for his next move.

I sometimes think there is an unhealthy streak of masochism among our ranks. The more players disrespect us, the more they are fawned over.

Brian Harrison
84 Posted 10/08/2021 at 19:30:04
Darren @80

I think the term "he is a 20-goal-a-season player" as if this happens on a regular basis, which it doesn't. I just checked to see who has scored 20 goals in the Premier League consistently and the ones who have done it the most are Shearer with 7 times, followed by Aguerro (6), Henry (5), Kane (5) and Van Nistelrooy (4). I think Van Nisterooy has the best conversion for goals scored against matches played in.

Now while there are a lot more who scored 20 goals in 1 or 2 seasons, I think that any team who can boast a 20-goal-a-season man is doing extremely well. Now some will say that some teams are set up just to feed a main striker and that's why some players score 20 goals a season more often, and they may have a case in that argument. But, however it's acheived, 20 goals a season on a regular basis happens a lot less than people believe.

Darren Hind
86 Posted 10/08/2021 at 19:40:31

My post was in response to the false and oft repeated claim that he "consistently scored 20+ a season".

He didn't even get close all the other times. That's why our Championship-at-best player who couldn't hit a "cow's arse with a banjo" will score more than him.

I've waited for old scuffer to come back. Now we'll see...

Jay Harris
88 Posted 10/08/2021 at 19:49:48
I think the real problem is that the James who joined us is a totally different beast to the current James.

When he came, he was motivated, full of desire, and playing for his "father" figure. Now, he has been abandoned and has had a few physical encounters of the 3rd kind and is currently with a manager that wants more contribution than he can give, so he wants away.

He is typical of a lot of highly talented footballers who want to be the star of the team rather than part of the team.

Whilst I love his occasional flash of brilliance, I don't think he enjoys tough love so I can't see him motivated to do anything except escape Everton.

Dave Abrahams
90 Posted 10/08/2021 at 20:14:58
Mike (77), could you give us the gist of what code says please.

Brent (78), Poetic licence, fair enough, most of us use that now and again.

Brent Stephens
91 Posted 10/08/2021 at 20:19:43
Good man, Dave! If you're going Saturday, I'm going to hunt you down in the Upper Bullens and do that interview! 2 minutes and I'll have your life story out of you!
Michael Lynch
92 Posted 10/08/2021 at 20:38:55
Paul @79, the whole Street End will be singing that on Saturday, I promise you. Genius.

Also agree with Andy @89, Mark's post should definitely stay up. It's hilarious.

Neil Copeland
93 Posted 10/08/2021 at 21:05:19
Sorry if this makes me sound a bit thick but all the talk of season ticket apps has got me concerned. My ticket is a good old traditional plastic credit card type so I am assuming that I will gain entry to the ground as normal by passing it under the scanner? Or, am I missing something here?

And on the subject of James, just hope I get to see him play in a blue shirt live - once will do!

Michael Lynch
94 Posted 10/08/2021 at 21:16:47
Neil - yes I've got the old-fashioned plastic one too, and I'm assuming it will be exactly as you describe. Those who have it on an app will have their phone scanned, and those who have had the vaccine will just have to put their arm on the scanner and it will scan the implant and send the info straight to Bill Gates ;-)
Eugene Ruane
95 Posted 10/08/2021 at 21:18:42

"But besides that Mr Thompson, what did you think of the game?"

He started off well too - 'dodgy Russian money'

But from there he basically becomes Farage after 14 pints of Olde Nobby-Heade's Best Bitter (7.4 abv).

Guessing if Everton decided to make a donation to the RNLI, this poltroon's head could actually explode.

Up the GRRRRRR!!!! Toffees!

Neil Copeland
96 Posted 10/08/2021 at 21:24:17
Michael #94,thanks. Looks like I am well covered then although Bill Gates can do one!
Barry Hesketh
97 Posted 10/08/2021 at 21:29:25
Thanks, Eugene, another word added to my limited lexicon, I'm off to get some supper at KFP.
Albert Perkins
98 Posted 10/08/2021 at 21:42:18
I'm looking forward to the physical and intellectual delights of this season. Wish I could be at the Old Lady enjoying the amazing banter of the crowd, solving the world's problems, or making them worse with a fine group of people. Everton Football Club is the only community that many people have and I'm grateful it is here for them. And me, of course. COYB.

Dave Abrahams
100 Posted 11/08/2021 at 09:22:20
Neil (96), I’ve got the plastic credit card season ticket, paid a fiver extra to get it and use it the same way as before lockdown, checked with the club, a young fella, who told me yes this is the way it will be used, mind you he also told me no proof of having had the two jabs would be necessary.

I think it will okay with the season ticket, if I go I’m taking my paper proof certificate to show them, I might also take my barrister to argue my case if needed!!

Danny O’Neill
101 Posted 11/08/2021 at 09:41:37
I'm a bit concerned about my ticket on the App Dave, so might take a printed copy just in case.

Failing that, I'll have to go old school and get someone to lift me over the turnstile!! I might be 49 but I've managed to maintain 13 stone since the age of 20!!

Ian Hollingworth
102 Posted 11/08/2021 at 13:14:13
I love the way we debate James with regard to him being a luxury we cant afford etc.
Like we have a squad full of quality ready to step up.
Give me a half arsed James any day over a good portion of our squad, who are half arsed themselves by the way but don't have the Luxury of the ability that James has.

Ability that won the derby by the way.

I hope we get to see him in a blue shirt at Goodison this season as even rare glimpses of his talent might brighten up what is nailed on to be quite a miserable time for us blues.

Dave Abrahams
103 Posted 11/08/2021 at 14:29:07
Ian (102),

“Ability that won the derby, by the way”. I think “ Ability that helped to win the derby” would be more accurate, it was a team effort that day at Anfield – with most of them playing 90-odd minutes, by the way.

Ian Hollingworth
104 Posted 12/08/2021 at 17:02:09
Dave (103) agree it was a team effort and it’s a team game etc. The point I was trying to make is that without James ability that team effort would probably have only got us a draw but that’s just my opinion.
Dave Abrahams
105 Posted 12/08/2021 at 17:34:39
Ian (104), You could be right Ian, he certainly contributed a lot that particular day, but without superb saves by Pickford and a solid defensive performance we might not have even got a draw, just glad we won.

You like James Ian, fair enough, I appreciate the quality he has, just not enough of it for me.

Stan Schofield
106 Posted 12/08/2021 at 19:24:51
This debate about Rodriguez reminds of past ToffeeWeb debates about Everton players who are top players, like Stones and Lukaku.

I recall a ToffeeWeb poll in which 80% voted to sell Stones. I recall numerous posts with incessant negative criticisms of Lukaku. It’s actually a bit weird witnessing Evertonians doing this, wanting to get rid of the best players.

The problem here is clearly not the individual top players. The problem is clearly Everton, the lack of quality in depth, the lack of winning mentality, and the readiness of some Evertonians to want to get rid of our best players.

Unless the first two change, we’ll win nothing, and unless the third changes, too many supporters will accept winning nothing.

Darren Hind
107 Posted 12/08/2021 at 19:45:38
It doesnt matter how we won at Anfield. We needed to get that monkey of our backs and we did.
The sight of Rafa walking on to the Anfiled pitch with his arms aloft this season would go a long way to repairing what is already a divide

As long its a blue win he is celebrating of course

Brian Murray
108 Posted 12/08/2021 at 20:45:12
Imagine Morgan sideways or Gomes or siggy releasing a pass like that in a derby Not in lifetime. Gomes somehow has to be involved until someone comes up with a bid. End of. pardon my grammar. Coyb
Stan Schofield
109 Posted 12/08/2021 at 20:53:13
Lukaku scored 87 goals in 166 games for Everton, which is about 1 goal every 2 games on average.

DCL has scored 64 goals in 220 games for Everton, which is about 1 goal very 3.4 games on average.

Lukaku is clearly a top class striker, and has been for a few years.

DCL is clearly a top class striker, but this has become apparent to the wider world only over the last year, although many Evertonians have known his potential for a few years longer. But some Evertonians are still unconvinced by him, just as some Evertonians were never convinced by Lukaku.

We simply need to keep hold of our best players, and sign more top quality players to complement them. Our problems boil down to that.

Barry Hesketh
110 Posted 12/08/2021 at 21:23:24
Stan @109
We can't keep our best players and add to them, even with the largesse of Moshiri. The club needs to improve its commercial income and of course, its on-field results, until both of those things happen simultaneously we'll continue to go round in circles, like a dog chasing its own tail.

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