Circumstances have contrived to keep Everton and James Rodriguez together for another few months at least. Amid reports and rumour of non-plussed manager and disengaged star, all parties need to come together to ensure that this most gifted of players has a role in the team this season
Imagine it’s transfer deadline day and Everton are entering the final hours of the window having made just a couple of outfield signings with a net spend of less than £1m. Suddenly it emerges that James Rodriguez — the James Rodriguez; 2014 World Cup star, one-time Real Madrid superstar and still the darling of Colombia — is available for just £5m and would command £100,000 a week for the season. You would want the club to be all over a deal like that, surely, given the dearth of genuine creativity and flair in the Blues’ ranks at the moment.
Of course, James was already an Everton player as deadline day in England dawned and his salary for the second year of his contract will amount to roughly the same outlay as that £10m+ mentioned above. But rather than landing a player of his talent and experience to bolster the ranks, the Blues were trying to offload him, initially in part-exchange for his compatriot Luis Diaz, and then to anyone who would take him, even if only on loan.
That eventually looked as though it might be Istanbul Basaksehir but the former Galactico wasn’t taken by the idea of playing in Turkey and, apparently, fancied giving it another go in the Premier League instead. Thankfully, it avoided the baffling scenario of Everton paying anywhere from £3.5m to £5m for James to play somewhere else in 2021-22 while simultaneously depleting their squad, without having any opportunity to bring in a replacement until January at the earliest.
That wouldn’t have made much sense even they were jettisoning someone half-decent; it felt like insanity when the player in question is unquestionably their most gifted and statistically their most creative last season. Rodriguez created 53 chances, 15 of them “big chances”, contributed to 17 of Everton’s goals last season and scored six himself. Without him, it’s debatable whether the Toffees would have beaten Liverpool at Anfield, drawn at Old Trafford or picked up draws against Leicester and Crystal Palace at home.
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Sadly, while the stats are compelling, the situation with James is far from straight-forward. The Colombian struggled with injuries and missed important stretches of last season, not least some crucial matches at the end of the campaign when European qualification was still a possibility. In the absence of genuine clarity over his conditioning and fitness from Carlo Ancelotti and amid tone-deaf posts on Instagram from his private jet before the season was even over, his commitment to the Blues’ cause has been questioned.
Then there is Rafael Benitez, a manager who, it is reported, did not see eye-to-eye with James during their brief association at the Bernabeu in 2015-16 and who, we are led to believe, has made it known that the player does not fit in the system he is trying to implement at Goodison Park. That, combined with Everton’s cash crunch, meant that not only was Rodriguez surplus to the head coach’s requirements, he was an expendable asset from a financial point of view as well.
The final closure of the international transfer windows has also closed the door on any prospect of James leaving until January so unless they plan to leave him to remain idle while paying his multi-million pound salary, it’s imperative that Benitez finds a way of getting him as fit as possible, embedding him back in the squad and making use of his stellar talents.
Because, make no mistake — there is a place and a role for James in this Everton squad, even if it is only as a “super-sub” in the next few weeks as he feels his way back to match sharpness having not had a consistent run of games since the spring. Having a player of his match-winning calibre as an option off the bench to unlock a defence or spring someone like Demarai Gray on the counter-attack to secure a victory or simply give opposition teams an additional headache when the Blues are ahead could be a huge bonus this season.
And given the relatively small nature of the squad, one that has already been depleted by injury to the extent that the manager was only able to name eight subs at Brighton (two of them goalkeepers), there will be times when James is needed as a starter and he has demonstrated already how effective he can be in the starting XI. Granted, his work-rate won’t match that of Andros Townsend of Alex Iwobi, the players with whom he would likely rotate, because his susceptibility to injury alone precludes that kind of tireless running but the manager is paid to figure out ways of fitting certain profiles of player into his system.
Rodriguez’s fitness is, obviously, one hugely determining factor in all of this. Just how many games he will be able to play is unknowable at this point, which is why his most effective contribution and threat could be as a regular substitute, ready to come on when legs are tiring and matches are more stretched.
The other concern is the player’s own motivation. It’s easy to regard his absence from those games at the tail end of last season, the early get-away to his homeland, his lackadaisical air in the pre-season friendlies, and his regular indulgences of his online fans via Twitch as being emblematic of a player who has “checked out” of his career as an elite player. All of that is mere supposition on the part of supporters, again in that vacuum of solid information, as is the assumption that he “wanted out” this summer as much as the club wanted to offload him as its biggest expense.
What is true, however, is that James Rodriguez has yet to experience a packed house at Goodison, the passion of the Everton supporters and the kind of welcome they will undoubtedly give him the first time he steps out on that hallowed turf in the Royal Blue Jersey. Because they know he is capable of belatedly becoming a club idol even if his days at the club will be limited.
By his own admission, his desire was always to play where he is wanted and if even if he won’t get the proverbial arm around the shoulder from the pragmatic and non-plussed Benitez, James should find out in no uncertain terms how much he is wanted by Toffees fans once he gets to play in front of them.
Fingers crossed that is on Monday against Burnley. There will be 40,000-odd Evertonians who have waited a year to see Colombia’s finest export play in the flesh and it could make all the difference for a player who hasn’t quite had the spark to kindle love for his current club or those dying to see him strut his stuff at Goodison.
Circumstances have contrived to keep Everton and James together for another few months at least; it’s up to everyone involved to find a way to make it work.
Reader Comments (117)
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1 Posted 10/09/2021 at 05:29:32
2 Posted 10/09/2021 at 07:56:03
3 Posted 10/09/2021 at 08:55:02
It's a squad based rotational game more than ever now. We don't need him to play every minute of every game, just use him appropriately and accordingly.
I never thought he would be interested in going to Turkey and if he's decided he wants to stick with the Premier League, that should be seen as a positive. Because that is with Everton.
In terms of relationship. Both manager and player need to separate personal from professional. Benitez is no fool and will know he has a top quality player on his hands. It would be stubbornness of the highest order not to use him in some capacity.
I can close my eyes and envisage Gray darting in from the wing onto an inch perfect pass from James to convert a cross for Calvert-Lewin to make the net bulge.
I hope I get to see him in person taking to the pitch at Goodison on Monday night. The fans will love him.
4 Posted 10/09/2021 at 09:12:31
It is genuinely sad though if fans don't get to see a player of this calibre in the flesh.
5 Posted 10/09/2021 at 09:16:16
However, and this is the acid in the ointment (fly metaphor too weak): it's not just a personality thing, an arrogant stance, a power/control thing. James Rodriguez is not fit...
His pre-season was poor, folks. You must have seen the US games, right? It wasn't as though he wasn't given a starting position and a role, and a chance to (re)gain fitness.
I think the hands across table has already happened from Club/new manager. Rafa's not going to sideline a player with such talent because of a rift. It's clear Rodriguez doesn't fit within the system but, more importantly, he's not fit, shows no intention of being fit, goes on a vacation and gets snapped smoking fags.
He's showing zero respect for the club, and that's a drain not just because of wages, but it's a negative impact on a squad that's small, that's together, that's punching above its weight, that's being effectively told (actions not words) that we're not worth it and he's more important.
I'm sorry, but my read is that the sentiment expressed in this article is a tad naive... It's cod psychology, well meaning – of course, stimulating debate – sure... But if James wants to play, or even if he wants a move to a Milan club, show us what you can do, and earn your move away.
But that's not happening. Despite fellow Columbians and Latin Americans in the Everton squad. I think the team, the togetherness may well signify this is not just a manager - player thing... My read (and here's where I apply my own cod/pike/salmon psychology) that this is a squad vs player thing.
I wish 40,000 Blues could convince him. I wish player and manager could find a way. But reality is he's been played, he didn't perform, he's not committed, he's not physically up to it, he's mentally weak, he doesn't play to the system in place. He's got a golden touch far too infrequently even when playing for his Godfather (Codfather?) Carlo...
I'm not interested in preening superstars milking performances from yesteryear. I want grift, graft, greatness and gratitude.
The situation is already fixed. Leave him out, he's not more important than squad or club, show him up as an example – not just to the squad, but so Rafa can point to our director of football and chairman that this is an example of waste, hubris, poor judgement of character and an all-round bad fit for our club.
6 Posted 10/09/2021 at 09:18:38
Will he perform? Yes. I think he would love to get one over Benitez, show the world and all at Goodison Park what they have been missing.
I really hope he gets the opportunity, but then I have a nagging feeling that Benitez may be as pragmatic as a stubborn Spanish mule...
7 Posted 10/09/2021 at 09:30:22
My own view is that two things are going to work in our favour, the first being that he knows he's going to have to knuckle down and work harder for the team, rather than have the team just work around him, as it was under Ancelotti. The second being that this should happen naturally, if he really wants to get back in the Columbia squad, with the World Cup finals only 15 months away?
I heard that Benitez had said he had never seen Rodriguez train so well, just before he went to Ibiza, and with our manager being very professional, I'm sure if this continues to be the case, then it won't be long before most of us get to see James Rodriguez playing in the flesh.
8 Posted 10/09/2021 at 09:32:41
His perceived air of detachment mingled with every type of sick note available doesn't help, meaning the bottom line is he is too big a gamble for most coaches.
9 Posted 10/09/2021 at 09:33:39
I happen to disagree with you on almost every point you make and your conclusions but I am happy you made them nonetheless because it's made in a reasonable way! Nowt personal!
If I was Benitez, I would play him against Burnley. If he is crap, he is vindicated in his decision; if James plays a blinder, he can say he has knuckled down and he always knew he had it in him!
If he does nothing then he will draw the wrath of supporters – especially if the results go badly!
10 Posted 10/09/2021 at 09:39:53
Step forward, James, and show us all what you can still do!
11 Posted 10/09/2021 at 10:02:31
I think what tension there is comes from the fact James knows he's probably not in the first eleven, all things being well. The problem with James, as we know, is that the whole team needs to adjust when he is on the pitch.
There were two key events last season for me re James. Southampton in game 6 when they blew a hole in our right flank. We were never the same again. Subsequent teams poured down that side. And Newcastle at home. Shelvey just lumbered up to him, and crunched him. End of problem for Newcastle.
And with Seamus also creaky, can we really afford a flank made up of those two? No way. The other alternative is that he goes into a No 10 role. But at whose expense? Richarlison? One of the centre-mids?
I think the only time he is going to see significant action is as a last throw of the dice. And as mentioned above, if none of this is right, and he's still a top player, why the lack of interest, from anyone?
12 Posted 10/09/2021 at 10:02:48
I wouldn't start him against Burnley, but he's a great option off the bench. He can take the sting out of games if we are already winning. Or he can play in games where we don't necessarily want to play with 2 up front, like we have been doing.
The problem for Rodriguez is that he can only play one position – just behind the striker. But he is top quality – he showed what he can do last season when he was often played (bizarrely) on the right. I am hoping he will be given a chance.
13 Posted 10/09/2021 at 10:05:44
Even over the international break, rather than busting a gut to get fit again, he's off partying in Ibiza.
I'm all for playing our best team but this lad has done nothing but disrespect us whether it be the plane photo whilst being “too tired” to play against Man City in a match to decide whether we got Europe or not, the constant whoring himself out over his social network platforms, and then there's the intentional comment made saying he didn't know who we were playing at the weekend. I've seen players hounded out of clubs for far less.
I don't think I've ever seen an Everton player who I've admired so much and despised at the same time.
14 Posted 10/09/2021 at 10:13:01
It cant be any worse than thats happening now surely. Everton could prove he has no interest in playing for the club and get his contract dissolved.
15 Posted 10/09/2021 at 10:15:17
As for greatness, who do you have in mind? When I combine the words 'Everton' and 'greatness' in my mind, not a single manager, coach or player comes to mind over the last quarter-century. Greatness comes with winning trophies, winning requires talent... and not selecting your most talented player is daft.
As for his 'preening' attitude, he was told by Everton that he was surplus to requirements when he returned to training. What do you want him to do? Post a video of himself on Instagram salsa dancing in an Everton shirt just to satisfy you that his loyalty is satisfactory?
16 Posted 10/09/2021 at 10:18:27
If this happened, then I think a lot of people would begin to question what Benitez is supposed to be about, but that's just my own view after watching how well Everton played at Brighton.
Surely a professional manager like Benitez would only become personal if a player is not working hard enough. If this is the case, then that player won't, or shouldn't even get near the squad. But, if a player is selected, it should only be because the manager trusts him.
17 Posted 10/09/2021 at 10:26:35
He should only play on merit. Should he be fit enough, should he be doing the graft in training, should his attitude be right, should he be needed, then he should be in contention.
Should he be picked because he's James Rodriguez? No, no, and thrice no.
18 Posted 10/09/2021 at 10:33:01
And there would be interest other than from the least famous club in Istanbul.
And we would have finished higher than 10th last season. (I appreciate there were a combination of reasons for the poor league position, but still...)
19 Posted 10/09/2021 at 10:35:48
A completely different Plan B accommodating James would seem like common sense to me.
20 Posted 10/09/2021 at 10:49:49
Even during the days of teams trying to man-mark Alan Ball out of a game, it was our way that they worry more about us than we do of them. Pile it on!
21 Posted 10/09/2021 at 10:51:44
Got to be worth trying – if only until January.
22 Posted 10/09/2021 at 11:10:37
23 Posted 10/09/2021 at 11:10:55
The reason James loved being on the wing is that he could drift inside and lose his marker. And fair enough, he's capable of doing real damage when his fullback can't follow him half-way across the pitch. But at what cost.
24 Posted 10/09/2021 at 11:14:51
I think Tony @7 hits a great point. Whether we like it or not and agree, he wants to play for his country and will most definitely have an eye on what would be his last World Cup.
Okay, you're with Everton, James, and don't have your Dad putting his arm around you for the next 6 or 12 months anymore. Get your head down, put in the effort, show the talent you are blessed with and that I want to witness. Get me my European Tour next season. Then go to your World Cup.
Very different players, but we haven't had many like this for decades since the 80s. Kanchelskis, maybe Arteta to a degree and (don't laugh – but I'll be happy to debate), our very own Leon Osman. Some may agree or disagree, but Anders Limpar.
Off topic, but this thread made me think. If my favourite Everton player of all time, Kevin Sheedy, had been playing now, would you play him Number 10 or as we knew him, out wide? I'm thinking Number 10 and he'd have been a great one.
25 Posted 10/09/2021 at 11:22:13
26 Posted 10/09/2021 at 11:27:06
It's a hard game vs Burnley. Two teams kind of playing the same system. It would be good to see him on the bench as a real game changer but it's likely that there are a couple ahead of him in Rondon and lwobi that Benitez trusts more.
27 Posted 10/09/2021 at 11:53:51
The first three matches this season have been won by hard work, a higher level of fitness and sharpness, organisation, midfield tenacity and faster better wing play. In short, we have been looking like a proper football team again.
I agree that James is too good to be overlooked; in Benitez, we have a manager who will use James if fully motivated and fighting fit when, in his opinion, that strengthens us.
The dream scenario is that James gets 100% fit and shows fight and desire to make a difference for us. If so, I think he will be used for some games from the start and as a game changer from the bench throughout the season, ie, when the pace drops in the last 30 minutes, James has the class to win us matches against anyone.
28 Posted 10/09/2021 at 12:03:20
29 Posted 10/09/2021 at 12:09:04
We've made a good start and this situation is upsetting that. Maybe in later fixtures stick him on the bench and play him late in a game if we are behind and need a goal.
It's pretty clear to me he will not start games. Benitez does not rate his all-round game.
30 Posted 10/09/2021 at 12:24:44
To Tony Everan's point, Benitez is pretty calculating and doesn't care for reputation or whether he's liked or not. By players and fans alike. He's here to do a job. And he will select the tools he thinks best to do it and when he needs to use them.
So far, so good. The one thing that has stood out for me has been the use of width. James unlocking that will be a joy to watch.
31 Posted 10/09/2021 at 12:57:07
However things will for sure go wrong in games and, at present, I don't see anyone we have had on the bench, so far, is a game changer.
If not fully fit, of course starting James would be detrimental but having, even a not 100% fit, James on the bench is without doubt having a game-changer and should be an option.
32 Posted 10/09/2021 at 14:57:20
I think the message is clear from Benitez. If you want to play, you have to be fit, and prepared to play as I want you to play. He mentions James having to adapt to the team.
33 Posted 10/09/2021 at 14:59:55
If he has five or six good moments in a game, in his mind that's good enough.
If he plays like he can for 90 minutes, he would be a good player for us.
34 Posted 10/09/2021 at 15:00:57
To be brutally frank his recent track record does not suggest we have a player ready, willing and able to compete at the top level. I have very low expectations we will see much of him before the club tries once again to offload him in January. I hope I am wrong.
35 Posted 10/09/2021 at 15:41:43
James, when he's fit and ready, is a fabulous player, no two ways about it. For a lot of last season, he wasn't either fit or fabulous. Before you can start accommodating the fancy football, you have to earn the right to do it and that means all pulling together for the collective. Only a personal opinion but I feel James doesn't do that.
If he's prepared to do the hard yards, get fit, play for the collective, then yes, he would be an amazing asset. If not, then it's a waste of his and the club's time. I'm not that desperate to see someone very occasionally produce a bit of magic if we leak a couple of goals because he's not fit enough to track back.
Maybe a super sub I suppose but that's about it if he can't get himself properly fit.
36 Posted 10/09/2021 at 15:44:06
He played 23 last season according to Wikipedia. I suspect that the club will not want him to reach the trigger so will be reluctant to use him. Does anyone know if there is a trigger in terms of games?
37 Posted 10/09/2021 at 16:02:58
1. You can't play him in front of Kenny (and maybe not even in front of Seamus) as he will not provide the assistance needed.
2. He is not fit enough for 90 minutes (23 starts, 15 times substituted last season, 3 in the last 13).
3. In the last 20 minutes, teams tire and spaces open up.
Put him on the bench – if we are 3-0 up, bring him on to get some match fitness. If we are losing by 1 goal, bring him on to try and change the result. If we are at home and winning by 1, bring him on to try and kill the game. Otherwise, keep him sat down.
38 Posted 10/09/2021 at 16:15:45
James might have been a world class player at one time but, if you can't fight to get in one of the worst Real Madrid sides in recent years, then you sure as hell will not want to fight to get in an Everton team.
For the misty-eyed among us, it's a nice dream to think he will be motivated by the fans and his chance of making the Columbia team again but, from what I have seen of him over the whole of last season, I question whether he has the desire.
39 Posted 10/09/2021 at 17:05:11
40 Posted 10/09/2021 at 17:05:21
In days of yore, I didn't see the likes of Kendall, Ball and Harvey not bothering with the hard yards. No, they were committed to full effort all over the pitch, minimum, with the occasional sublime touch (and with even the best players sublime touches are rare events in a match) as a bonus.
So it's all up to James I'm afraid. Has he got the cojones to become "un hombre duro"?
Or does he really only want to lounge about on a beach having an occasional puff?
41 Posted 10/09/2021 at 17:21:02
Maybe Benitez has similar requirements and the ball is firmly in James's court to get himself fit for selection. No injury has ever been mentioned. Benitez has also publicly challenged James to commit to be available for selection to play for Everton.
So it is down to James to put in the effort and work to compete for his place in the Everton team. All the talk of James wanting away and Benitez not having him in his plans is just muddying the waters.
The fundamental problem is that James has to knuckle down to get himself fit so he is available for selection and consideration to play for Everton and Colombia teams.
42 Posted 10/09/2021 at 18:22:32
Now if I can just get my eyes to stop rolling at ridiculous comments like "downs tools" and "negative impact on a squad" and "Don't want him anywhere near the first team." Yeah, right.
Dennis #21 and Kevin #23, to my mind the "10" role is about unlocking the defense with passes, first and foremost. You don't necessarily have to be perched in the center of the pitch to do that, like Pirlo and Iniesta for example. James plays exactly that role, he just prefers to receive the ball in a wide position to do it. So, for much of his career, has Messi. So did Del Piero and Ronaldinho.
43 Posted 10/09/2021 at 18:23:07
He couldn't have made it simpler. Over to you, James!
Tough looking game Monday, but I reckon we will smash 'em.
44 Posted 10/09/2021 at 18:53:10
So I am sure he will be doing all he can to get fit so he gets selected for Colombia and I am sure if he is fit and playing regularly then maybe that will encourage other clubs to show interest come the January window.
45 Posted 10/09/2021 at 19:03:29
Clough never let his dislike for Lloyd cloud his judgement. He selected him over 150 times.
46 Posted 10/09/2021 at 19:21:50
Contrast that with James's 14-year career club appearances of just 320 games, and then go figure what's wrong with the bloke in terms of reliability.
47 Posted 10/09/2021 at 19:31:03
Yet another point goes sailing over the Alexander block.
But fair play though. He keeps trying.
48 Posted 10/09/2021 at 20:04:23
Listening to Rafa's press conference today, I thought his comments and body language when discussing James, told me we won't see much of him in a blue jersey anytime soon. I hope I'm wrong.
49 Posted 10/09/2021 at 20:41:37
For some reason, I trust this manager to handle James in a way that benefits the whole team. I hope James does the same.
50 Posted 10/09/2021 at 21:33:49
51 Posted 10/09/2021 at 21:41:27
52 Posted 10/09/2021 at 21:50:51
53 Posted 10/09/2021 at 21:53:10
James was simply rubbish.
Not just bad passing rubbish.
Didn't run (forwards or backwards).
Passing all over the place.
Think he had perhaps 2 or 3 shots, maybe one on target.
More bothered about signing autographs for the Columbian fans, no rapport with Everton US fans...
Then there's the comments in social media, who are we playing on the weekend again? I feel like Agüero signing for Barcelona only to watch Messi leave...
Couple that with last season.
3 games played great.
Then sort of faded with not being fit enough and getting injured.
We finished 10th
Our home record (yeah, yeah, no crowds) utterly bottom drawer...
And he's like one of the best no.10s ever?
Because he scored a few and smacked a cracker of a volley in a World Cup 7YRS ago?
Any different from Gascoigne? Or Ginola? Or Rooney MK2? Or any other preening past their best superstar... And yes, preening - because £200K a week (apparently) and quite a preening social media presence with super slick hair...
Happy people disagree. Will agree to disagree. He doesn't fit. He's not fit. He doesn't want to fit and it's all up to him to get fit...
I don't disagree that a fit and focused James. Amazing. Super (sub or not).
But I don't see him fit or focused.
Shall absolutely eat my words and 100% say I'm wrong if he plays Monday, or whenever and plays a commanding and creative playmaker role.
But can't see it.
Annoyed about that, as was genuinely impressed we got him...
Don't want to get my hopes up.
But also don't want to live in fantasy land that he could turn. Footballers can be simple folk, not (so much) dim witted, but straight forwards and mostly all about a binary 1:0... They're not exactly philosophers (except for Pat Nevin and Johan Cruyff and Cantona... and you could say Big Nev...Ok so there are a few... But the 99%...) My point is... They're not too difficult to read. They sort of telegraph their emotions and are not sophisticated negotiators with media and management...
James Rodriguez wants out of the club. He does not want to play for the club.
He has had previous with our current manager. He only joined because our former manager let him do what he wants (on the pitch)...
Now clearly the stats prove he's not really been that effective or influential through the entire of last season.
He didn't come on and nick games. He didn't see out narrow margins, he didn't add magic to turn draws into wins or consolidate leads...
No, he wasn't fit and was injured a lot... And was generally a bit rubbish...
And now we are supposed to say - nah... Go on son, show us all again what you've got for 3 games a season?
Not buying it.
Preening vanity and overpaid and entitled.
Grift. Graft. Greatness and Gratitude.
Yes the last 26YRS have been 95% bloody awful. The speed of our decline since the 80s... Wow...
Was watching the Premier League/Sky launch documentary on BBC iPlayer (go watch it, it's great... If only to remember the clothes, hairstyles, and media quality...) The breakway, the big 5... And we were one of the leading voices, Sir Philip Carter... Even in the doc, there was a comment on Jack Walker and Blackburn signing Shearer and the Man Utd journo saying - and the big 5 didn't want these upstarts shaking the boat... No, Man U, Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs No mention of...
Yes I get it.
We are no where near as good as we think we are or where our history says we should be...
But I say greatness, because we have been blessed with some absolute greats of the game.
And James Rodriguez is not one of the greats. His attitude sucks.
I'd take Leon Osman or a Steven Pienaar any day of the week...
Ask yourselves, what would Seamus or Duncan be thinking right now about him? Give him a chance - or sit down and shut it... Earn your place, on the training pitch, not on Instagram. Win our respect by showing what you can do, not telling us what you think you deserve. By all accounts the most expensive player in our entire history.
Got to use him. Even though we know he's not been able to show it...
Greatness for me is a Kevin Sheedy...
And he had grift and graft and gratitude AND guile...
Over to you James, I have a hat ready to eat...
54 Posted 10/09/2021 at 23:01:42
So frustrating, he took the piss out of every club's fans as a player, looking only after number one throughout.
That said, I doubt James has been such a financial dickhead as football's most famous pigeon fancier so I doubt he'll ever have to grovel at Kenwright's feet for a job of any sort.
55 Posted 11/09/2021 at 06:07:36
Over to you, Rafa.
56 Posted 11/09/2021 at 07:34:40
Don, I know it's not a popular view for a generation to whom Duncan Ferguson was the only shining light, but I've had that opinion for years.
I am more frustrated that he failed (yes failed) to live up to his potential. He showed fleeting glimmers but for whatever reason, injuries accepted, he didn't seem to want it enough all of the time. Sound familiar to those picking up on James' fault lines?
Yes on his day, he could rouse the crowd with his cavalier performances, fist pumping and bare chest goal celebrations, but in the context of his playing career, how ofter was that? Like James, for a lot of his career, he was sidelined and unlike James through ill discipline and suspensions.
But because he's not called Duncan Fergurodriguez, we excuse him and give him legend status.
I love Duncan by the way, but the player frustrated me no end. Sadly, he's seems to be doing the same with his coaching and (non) managing career now. He seems to like to sit in the background and just occasionally take the limelight. It's like there is a lack of ambition. A reluctant footballer I always thought. The talent was obvious but it was like he'd rather have been doing something else in life.
Great start to Saturday and I haven't declared Burnley yet, but the suspicion is there. I can tell by the probing questions. Thanks All!!
57 Posted 11/09/2021 at 08:37:30
Don loves to put the cat amongst the pigeons, and Danny proves that not everyone is blinded with a perfectly logical description of Big Duncan, and my own personal opinion of what Bill Kenwright's Everton have somewhat been allowed to become.
58 Posted 11/09/2021 at 09:13:53
We have signed too many has-beens over the years, so-called legends: Ginola, Gascoigne, Rooney Mk2, to name a few... now James.
This type of signing over-the-hill players has to stop. Thankfully, with Rafa and FFP, we might see an end to it. Don't get me wrong – not all have been mistakes: Richard Gough, Nigel Martyn, Colin Todd were great signings.
59 Posted 11/09/2021 at 09:34:55
The only difference between the players you list, who were in the rundown / twilight of their career, and Duncan, is that he was only 22 or 23 when he came to Everton. He had potential and was a prospect, not a has-been.
He gave us some great moments and his love for Everton is undeniable. But many players over the years gave me great moments and my love for Everton is undeniable. Consistency is what makes a great player. Undeniable love for Everton is for fans and fools like me.
At nearly 50 (both Duncan and I), he is yet to manage a club. I suspect his managerial career will go the same way as his playing one. Unfulfilled.
Anyway, back on theme. Let's hope both manager and player can get a tune out of a very talented player we still have on our books. I personally can't wait to watch him in royal blue.
If he only does it in half the games, the crowd who witness it will love it and be talking about it in the same way as other players are talked about, who, through injury and suspension, didn't feature all of the time during their Everton careers.
60 Posted 11/09/2021 at 09:39:23
Spot on. James as a world class player is pure mythology created by those fed on a diet of dross for the best part of 25 years, desperate for it to be true.
A promising start for 5 games followed by one assist and two goals in his last 16 games don't make him a world class player.
I think Rafa has got it right. Get fit, show me you want it and you could still contribute something.
I'm not holding my breath.
61 Posted 11/09/2021 at 09:47:04
It's clear that from day one James and Benitez were never going to get on. One has Cart Blanche to do what he wants, the other has been told to find another club, before a ball is kicked in anger.
They are a gulf apart and James will be gone almost certainly in January unless either Rafa plays him as part of a team or James plays out of his skin. I doubt that happening in either scenario.
But... he is quality and, if we can get a tune out of him, then we should. On song, he is brilliant... but the question has to be: Can Rafa get the best out of him?
62 Posted 11/09/2021 at 09:56:30
I think James's idea of the level of fitness that you have to be at to compete in a way that benefits the team is completely different to Benitez's interpretation. The Colombia manager reached similar conclusions before the Copa America.
This issue is close to the core of James's future as a serious footballer. Is it possible for him to get fit enough to warrant inclusion that, on balance, doesn't weaken the team? From what I've seen so far, he is struggling to get to the level required, sometimes through no fault of his own.
However, there is an excellent fitness team at Everton now and the manager will be closely watching his fitness development. If they can get him up to the levels required, he could surprise a few and deliver for us this season.
63 Posted 11/09/2021 at 10:31:01
Dull Don does love to put the cat among the pigeons. If only he had the brains to occasionally use a different cat... and pigeons.
There is a word for an Evertonion who only ever comes on an Everton website to batter Evertonians... Every village has one.
64 Posted 11/09/2021 at 11:00:11
Different reasons and no attitude problem there. Unfortunately his career was curtailed through injury. I suppose back them, in the absence of the squad / rotation approach and medical ability to keep players going for longer however intermittent their appearances were, he had to quit.
How I would have loved to have seen him more in a blue shirt.
65 Posted 11/09/2021 at 12:05:00
66 Posted 11/09/2021 at 12:21:40
Personally, I think this is a naive notion. He is a talent but not as good as some think.
Obviously it is silly not to use him if he can get fit, as long as he can be deployed for the good of the team. I am happy to leave that decision to the manager.
67 Posted 11/09/2021 at 14:13:32
Its gratitude Im looking for from James Rodriguez, and if he could look in the mirror and find a little bit of this very valuable human trait, then Im sure everything else would fall into place, because he would then realize hes not doing us any favours just being at Everton, and if it was on ability alone, hed probably be the first name on the team sheet most weeks.
68 Posted 11/09/2021 at 14:44:22
He said half the team were looking at each other shaking their heads, and the other half were gathered around Bracewell, telling him to get his head together, because there is no way that a player could be playing as good as he was, if he was in even half the pain he was describing, because hed been the best player on the pitch during the first half.
Im certain Steven Gerard, never really liked Benitez, but he had grit, graft, gratitude, and a winners attitude, and Benitez would have left Liverpool without winning a trophy, only for his best player having those very vital ingredients.
69 Posted 11/09/2021 at 14:56:18
70 Posted 11/09/2021 at 15:28:29
Wasn't there another one that squirmed under Brucey Balls-Up? But that was Stevens and in the League Cup.
I was in the Anfield Road away section for both. Great days & nights!!
71 Posted 11/09/2021 at 15:56:11
72 Posted 11/09/2021 at 16:23:38
Reidy had about 50,000 of them screeching like pigs that day
73 Posted 11/09/2021 at 16:57:59
But given he is our player, obviously we need to see if he can be utilised, to optimise our asset. Here I think the ball is in James' court. He needs to meet the manager's expectations and requirements, whether he likes it or not. Basic things like fitness and committment. If he does that to the manager's satisfaction, I think Benitez is smart and focussed enough to find a way to use him, at least on occasion.
On posts comparing him to Sheedy, I don't see that. Sure Kev had a magical left foot but he was also fit, hard working and fairly gritty for a flair player. The closer parallel, albeit in a different position, would be McKenzie, my favourite player of the 70's even when he was at Leeds, but even I'd admit he, like James, went missing in action far too often for comfort.
74 Posted 11/09/2021 at 19:11:13
At the moment, were playing well, with no major injury problems, like at the start of last season under Ancelotti. If and when we stop playing well, with injury problems, and results take a nosedive, no doubt well see the usual U-turn of tone towards the manager and players on ToffeeWeb. In that event, Benitez wont be given the praise he is at the moment, and his comments about Rodriguez could come back to haunt him, a danger of discussing a player publically the way Benitez is currently discussing Rodriguez.
Its no doubt better for any manager to handle a player purely behind closed doors, and to refrain from commenting in public. Otherwise, it can end in tears.
75 Posted 11/09/2021 at 22:20:27
Bit perplexed by the Duncan commentary. To me he was a light during dark days, even if that was merely me thinking... "We may be cr*p but Duncan could beat cr*p out of any of your team... In fact your entire team... On his own..."
I know... Sad settling for a hooligans answer after the spoiling we all had to endure in the mid 80s...
@Christine 61... Fair point, just don't agree James is a great player as his stats prove he's all fluff and no puff... if you could guarantee that for 15min he's consistently the best player on the pitch, and could out think, pass, run, jump, cross - then yup, we are in agreement let's get him on the pitch for that 15min... But I just don't buy it. No one wants to buy him apart from a Turkish team most of us didn't even know existed. Now can someone pls tell me what it is about this player that folks on this forum know more than the professional scouts and Directors of Football in the top 3 divisions in England, Spain, France, Germany, Italy... Belgium, Russia... Hell let's also include UAE, Saudi, China and the US? No one wants him... I'm wondering why... Actually I don't need to wonder... He's a social media loud mouth with a preening arrogance that delivers very little and costs an absolute monstrous fortune...
@Colin 65... I agree that he can change a game as a sub, in that he will lose the ball, not track back, or get caught out of position and we concede goal(s) at home... Like on several occasions throughout last season. He lost us points and cost us valuable games we should have won... We finished 10th people... TENTH... He was a glorious flash in the pan at the start, but then it got too cold and people stood on his feet and pushed his perfectly formed backside to the floor...
Can any of you remember him tackling anyone? Anyone? ... How about winning the ball in the air or a 50/50? Anyone? Please, I may be getting too old but I can't recall him grabbing a game by its proverbials and forcing the game our way... Not once the entire season...
Would any of you take off Gray - or Townsend, or DCL for James to see a game out?
Are we reduced to having to think of a role for him to play based on (in my opinion) bad interpretation of his impact last season... Or the hope he can for 15min be like the player he was 7YRS ago... Or is it because he costs us more every week than 4 other 1st team players... combined...
Like me spending money on a fancy car... And feel I have to drive it around... Otherwise I sort of have to accept it was and is a total waste of time, money and space - over priced and no one wants to buy it... I mean why not? It's an Escort 3i and back in the day they were dead good and fast and everyone wanted one...
76 Posted 11/09/2021 at 22:35:12
77 Posted 11/09/2021 at 23:59:11
78 Posted 12/09/2021 at 00:21:37
To me, Benitez builds his team on effort and James is not a 110% player for 100% of the game. James on the other hand is a not a grafter, I don't want a RS Mk2 as the team I support, I want to see a team that can graft but can also accommodate brilliance and thats not just up to James, its up to Benitez.
79 Posted 12/09/2021 at 01:30:42
Yes, he can sometimes dazzle with the ball at his feet and it's great to see it when it occurs, but in our League no team can afford to carry even one player who's basically AWOL without the ball, and expect to win a trophy. In fact that's been the case ever since football was invented, and that's very probably why hardly any other club on Earth is knocking on our door to obtain his services.
The days of players akin to a performing seal are well in the past, if they ever existed. These days players have to make a real contribution during the majority of a match (in our case, as we definitely know) when we don't have possession of the ball and, as anyone can see, James is useless at that.
80 Posted 12/09/2021 at 01:39:59
81 Posted 12/09/2021 at 01:59:35
The difference between us and the clubs that entertain and win is quality. If you are saying that we cannot afford the luxury of James because we do not have the quality around him that will allow him the space and protection to perform, thats a different story.
A glance over the history of James and Benitez is like a rerun of movie, same title, same script, same words, same outcome. Since the arrival of Benitez, you would think its a rerun of the bad blood of Real Madrid with Benitez using exactly the same terms for dropping him, exactly the same comments regarding his fitness levels, exactly the same comments in his "support"
Except we all know the moment Benitez said he didn't fit in his plans, the club wanted him gone as it fell in line with the manager and solved a few FFP issues. Then the lovely local Red media (remember that for a moment,red) spread the word that we wanted to get rid. Lovely job that. (Just reporting the facts... sure, so were are the pictures of every other player on a break? I said it was a hatchet job, clickbait, red rag stuff)
So, no-one wants him. Really? He has a lucrative contract because he came on a free. Same as Bernard. Same problem as Bernard, his wages to others are a stumbling block. Whose fault is that? (what ever his wage, we gave it to him) If his wage was 50% of what it is there would be a queue for him. But why on earth would he go to Turkey just to help us out of a financial hole? I heard the club accepted the deal before even discussing the transfer with him? Bet that improved the relationship..
Lets see him on the pitch, lets see if he wants it enough. What have we got to lose?
82 Posted 12/09/2021 at 02:55:58
83 Posted 12/09/2021 at 08:35:55
Whilst Everton are getting results and seem to be playing well, the opposition will be working hard on tactics to counter this. Once such opposition exposes weaknesses other team will follow suit.
James does offer something different and imo will be played more forward than last season. There is not doubt of passing ability in the final third and that given a half chance in front of goal he is a world class finisher.
Benitez will use James to turn the tables on opposition who think they are well prepared.
84 Posted 12/09/2021 at 09:09:56
Everton have been shite for far too long, and unfortunately the opinions of some Evertonians are commensurate with it.
85 Posted 12/09/2021 at 09:21:41
Most of your list wanted out or hinted at wanting out and supporters of all clubs won't tolerate it. Rooney, Michael Owen, Keegan, Berbatov, Van Persie etc etc all got pelters from a section of their fan base for saying they wanted to go.
If you live and breathe your club it's a very natural reaction.
86 Posted 12/09/2021 at 09:28:24
87 Posted 12/09/2021 at 09:34:35
3 of the players you mention:
Stones: 27 years old and yet to peak. Started at Everton 19 years old and hounded by the Park End in that match. I'm not saying that's the reason he's not still at Everton, but it certainly can't have helped his relationship with the fans.
Lukaku: 28 years old and in his peak. Was only 20 when he joined on loan. Consistently scores a lot of goals. Berated for his touch (or lack of).
Richarlison: Joined us at 21 and still only 24. Will only get better, but he's a sulker. He sulks because he actually gives a shit in my opinion.
The other one is a class player who we haven't seen grace the Goodison turf literally in decades. Has played for Real Madrid and Bayern Munchen. Past his best? Yes, but we shouldn't turn our nose up.
Let's go for a Phil Jagielka, Marcus Bent or Kevin Kilbridge because they put a shift in. It's a balance, but it only gets you so far.
88 Posted 12/09/2021 at 09:45:43
The trouble with laying the blame at the door of Benitez is Heynkes and Zidane obviously felt the same at Bayern and Real Madrid respectively dropping him like a hot potato as has the Colombia manager
"Something" is not right with James whatever his wages (no one really knows what they are) the lack of interest from the football fraternity shows it as a common if not well publicised truism.
I like him as a footballer but understand coaches turning their back on him. He hardly ever plays for a thousand reasons and when he does his acute weaknesses are not always countered by his brilliance.
89 Posted 12/09/2021 at 09:53:18
The entire phenomenon of fandom borders on unnatural. Irrational comment and behaviour is part and parcel I'm afraid.
90 Posted 12/09/2021 at 10:00:57
91 Posted 12/09/2021 at 10:01:07
Its an interesting debate, with the arguments both for and against James, both holding equal weight imo, and in accordance with how each individual views the game?
I hope to see Rodriguez in a blue shirt, because it will mean he has decided to really knuckle down and concentrate on his football, but it was also interesting what my son told me after the Brighton game.
I think watching on TV is great, but match-goers see different things, (why else would most stadiums be full, even when the game is on the telly?) and my son told me that after the Brighton game, most of their players sat down on the turf because it looked like they were physically knackered? (John Raffetty, Rob Halligan, Danny ONeill?) and if this was the case, then its obvious that a player has now got to be able to reach a certain physical level if he wants to play for Everton?
92 Posted 12/09/2021 at 10:13:48
You may well have a point there
93 Posted 12/09/2021 at 10:13:58
94 Posted 12/09/2021 at 10:28:24
He still after all he has won in the game trains harder than most, and he and Messi are absolutely miles ahead of any of their opposition.
So I would suggest that James spends more time training and less time vaping and enjoying himself, he has had all close season to enjoy himself.
95 Posted 12/09/2021 at 10:52:19
It'd be a steal!
And yet, we are already committed to spending that amount, whatever happens.
⚽⚽⚽ Cheers, David#76.
Im of the 60s generation and, to this day, I remember one moment, among many, how Alex Young brought a very high lofted ball under instant control, how he could float for seconds to head a ball and how he turned “on a sixpence”. Magical memories.
I also admired Dennis Stevens and Carsley for their energy, diligence and hard work for the team. But what really inspired me was Alex.
We already have James here, with us.
What a waste if we didnt get to witness his talents in person and to let us dream, at least for a short while, of the potential of Everton success, and all with a certain ‘royal blue' style.
Man City have just spent £100m on Grealish for similar skills.
96 Posted 12/09/2021 at 10:54:34
The tempo and effort was notably different Tony. Likewise from what I saw against Southampton.
Credit to the players (and manager) for the work rate and playing more on the front foot. It's definitely different. Also, Allan had better options when he picked the ball up so could shift the ball to the right places quicker. Both goals came from his forward passes, but he had the options and runners in front of him, so could do it quickly.
What I loved was what I mentioned elsewhere, several players coming over to the crowd and personally handing their shirts to fans. Led by the clearly physically knackered Richarlison, who then got followed by Gray and others.
More of the same tomorrow please Everton and Mr Benitez. Its a long round trip so make it worth my while.
My fear, as with last season, is the thinness of the squad once injuries kick in. Unless we can have a season live our cousin did when the won the league. Thin squad, barely any injuries to the core first team.
97 Posted 12/09/2021 at 11:22:11
Personally I think James will be used as an impact sub coming on for the last 20-25 mins as the opposition start to tire. He needs to get his head sorted first though and show the manager that he really wants to play.
Does James want to be a part of the next World Cup with Columbia or not? Surely the answer to that is yes, so come on lad get a grip and show us what you are made of.
98 Posted 12/09/2021 at 11:45:57
Just like them to do that.
Sorry, had to repost the last paragraph of my previous before Michael K gave me lines for spelling. I was on my phone!!
Tony, I misread. I thought you / your lad was referring to the Everton team. I didn't notice that personally, but did notice the effort and commitment expended by Everton.
99 Posted 12/09/2021 at 13:49:23
100 Posted 12/09/2021 at 16:02:16
Perhaps the recently-closed transfer window, has taught James, that 'He ain't got nowhere else to go' and that accepting that fact, his performances will suddenly improve!
101 Posted 12/09/2021 at 16:54:50
Perhaps, but perhaps he doesn't need to be taught any such thing.
From his performances last season, I saw a player committed to Everton, and contrary to some of the stuff that some have asserted on ToffeeWeb, I saw a player doing plenty of running, putting in plenty of effort, for the benefit of the team. Most of all, I saw a player with unique ability to change games and put fear into the opposition.
102 Posted 12/09/2021 at 18:33:49
103 Posted 12/09/2021 at 18:42:00
104 Posted 12/09/2021 at 19:54:28
Don't know how reliable this source is. I find it hard to believe. I was hoping someone could prove it wrong. .
'Football Insider claimed that James inked a contract worth around £12M per year upon his arrival at Goodison Park. That's a full £5M higher than an earlier estimate from Marca.
Sporting director Marcel Brands agreed to make him the highest-paid player in Everton's history and that proved to be the stumbling block in their attempts to offload him as the Blues tried to replace him with players ‘more suited' to Benitez's style.
105 Posted 12/09/2021 at 20:37:04
106 Posted 12/09/2021 at 21:32:53
Football Insider is a load of shite, full of quotes by such luminaries as Noel Whelan And Gaby Agbonlohor.
A while ago Patrick Boyland at the Athletic made a similar claim, maybe a bit more credible, you might think, but he cited ‘an Insider
So give me a fucking break.
107 Posted 13/09/2021 at 05:06:41
Given the percentage of income the wage bill takes should they be reducing the wage bill or increasing income, or both, or are we putting too much faith in spotting all up and coming "gems" before anyone else while hoping, more than anything, that we qualify for the cashkow competitions?
108 Posted 13/09/2021 at 09:45:22
109 Posted 13/09/2021 at 11:56:13
As a season ticket holder, I was picked out of a hat along with 39 others to meet him. (He got his gallon of whisky Manager of the Month made into miniatures as he was teetotal.)
I asked him why he kept picking Pearson instead of Dunc. He just waffled a bit. The press and fans thought it funny anyway.
By the way, if any of them fans has a newspaper picture of the event, please let me know. Gutted mine's lost. 1978.
110 Posted 13/09/2021 at 12:55:41
For every Rooney or Beardsley who worked their socks off there is a prima donna like James who thinks that's all somebody else's job.
111 Posted 13/09/2021 at 13:02:15
112 Posted 13/09/2021 at 13:21:39
Or is it just cos we're the only show in town tonight?
113 Posted 13/09/2021 at 13:27:34
I think it was Oscar Wilde who wrote that the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
114 Posted 13/09/2021 at 13:38:10
Bunch of bullshit anyway.
115 Posted 13/09/2021 at 13:50:36
I can live in hope, because I actually believe he could do it. And I would smile.
But in reality, Benitez never named him in the squad.
116 Posted 13/09/2021 at 19:05:29
I remember Alex Young being called out by Catterick for never showing sweat on his shirt. I also remember Alex and Royston scoring about 50 goals between them, for us in our 62-63 Championship season. I think Alex scored about 23 and Royston around 27, with Alex making great chances for Roy to score.
I'd love to see him as much as anyone, but not until Rafa thinks it will benefit us to bring him on.
117 Posted 15/09/2021 at 12:42:08
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