James: Benitez forced me out of Everton

27/01/2023 68comments  |  Jump to last

James Rodriguez has confirmed what was largely common knowledge at the time, that he was forced out of Everton by Rafael Benitez in 2021.

The Colombian star was the marquee signing of Carlo Ancelotti's tenure as the Toffees' boss and made an instant impact at Goodison Park before injuries severely curtailed his time on the pitch in the lockdown season of 2020-21.

It was assumed that once Ancelotti had left Everton James would follow but in a conversation with Portuguese futsal player Ricardinho, he says he would have like to have stayed at Goodison Park longer but was told by Benitez that he was not part of his plans.

The pair had briefly worked together in less than harmonious circumstances at Real Madrid and James admits that he warned the Everton hierarchy that the Spanish coach wouldn't last long at Everton, which proved to be prescient as the Spaniard was sacked the following January.

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"I was at Everton for a year but I would have liked it to be longer," the current Olympiacos man said. "I did well, very well. I left on account of a coach, because if not, I would have stayed.

“The coach told me on the first day of pre-season: 'You're old, you're already 30 years old. I prefer to have young people with energy. So find yourself a club'.

“I told a [leading person at the club], after three months he will be out," Rodriguez continued, alluding to Benitez. "I have already worked with him. I told him, 'after three months look for me,' and after three months he was already out. Then (Frank) Lampard came. He has won some games and managed to save the club [last season].”

Rodriguez's erratic playing time in his only season at Goodison meant that he was an expensive asset to carry at the club at a time when Financial Fair Play rules would restrict Everton to a net spend of just £1.7m in the summer of 2021.

It emerged that the former Galactico's salary with the Blues was as high as £250,000 a week which made offloading a player who the incoming manager didn't fancy a much more palatable option, regardless of his undoubted talent.



Reader Comments (68)

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Mark Ryan
1 Posted 27/01/2023 at 16:13:12
Come back James !!!
Jason Hewly
2 Posted 27/01/2023 at 17:21:31
I think he's played for two clubs already this season.

Getting rid of him was one of the stupidest things I've ever seen in football. We would have been nowhere near the relegation zone with him knitting attack and midfield together.

Will Mabon
3 Posted 27/01/2023 at 17:28:29
Jason - agree 100%. The downgrade of quality has become part of our culture in recent years.
Allan Board
4 Posted 27/01/2023 at 17:29:01
A top quality player, just make the inferior player's do his running for him. I'd have him back and put him straight in the team tomorrow. Benitez is a prick who can't stand his player's being the centre of attention.
Dave Abrahams
5 Posted 27/01/2023 at 17:39:53
Rodriguez said many things n that article that are open to question, as I suspect Lyndon knows but it could make a good thread.

Did the manager get rid of him or did his outrageous wages have a lot to do with him going seeng as how Everton were not spending any money at the time of his departure, I think it was 1.5£M that summer transfer window, and Benitez’s was following instructions.

Dale Self
6 Posted 27/01/2023 at 17:50:44
Hamez, now there is a guy who does not get Everton. Fine player elsewhere but could not endure or evade the physicality of the PL. good timing though innit?
Barry Lightfoot
7 Posted 27/01/2023 at 18:05:15
Could we have afforded to keep him though as we're still struggling to get the ridiculous wage to turnover ration down.
Kieran Kinsella
8 Posted 27/01/2023 at 18:09:58

I think it was a coalescing of two parties with the same idea. The club wanted his wages off the book and Rafa never liked him anyway.

Joe McMahon
9 Posted 27/01/2023 at 18:11:35
Barry, exactly. He was on 200k a week!. Whilst being paid this obcene salary, when injured (often) he was in a private jet or with bikini babes on his yacht.

I can't for the life of me think why no other premier league club in England or in Europe wanted him.

Barry Rathbone
10 Posted 27/01/2023 at 18:35:52
Scintillating player arguably the most skilful I've ever seen in a blue shirt but he just didn't play enough. It was the same at Madrid and Bayern he didn't seem to understand what was required of a professional football player and probably pissed off his coaches as a result.

Massive waste of talent

Jeff Armstrong
11 Posted 27/01/2023 at 18:39:44
Barry #10 nails it, there’s always two sides to every story.
Jim Lloyd
12 Posted 27/01/2023 at 18:42:07
I'd seen Alex, and to me, he was the most skilful I've ever seen. I'd like to have seen James, but wasn't he on £200,000 a week and how many games did he play?

I think Benitez was right to get shut. He went off to his home country after being sick for a while. then they didn't play him. I'm not sure his fellow professionals admired him for that.

Karen Mason
13 Posted 27/01/2023 at 21:42:13
For me, James was worth every penny we paid him Just for the GLORIOUS slide rule pass he played through the Redshite defence for Richie to score in the Derby. For that, I will always value his time at our club.
Dave Abrahams
14 Posted 27/01/2023 at 22:13:00
Karen (13)£10M for one pass?
Tony Hill
15 Posted 27/01/2023 at 22:22:34
Barry @10, very arguably. I agree he was a joy at his brief best and brought back memories, for some of us, of the 60s ghosts. Nowhere in the same league as Rooney, of course, but that's probably a false measure.

Yes, a lovely, strange, transient phenomenon playing to an empty theatre. I think we can cherish him, sort of, for that; not an Evertonian at all, but a pure Evertonian unawares.

James Potter
16 Posted 28/01/2023 at 00:15:57
Played 26, 6 goals and 9 assists. We've wasted more money on far less productive players. Class act IMO.
Ken Camara
18 Posted 28/01/2023 at 02:11:34
He was the best player I have ever seen in a Blue shirt. Smooth, calm, collected, with eyes on the side of his foot.

We looked great for a the first couple of weeks of that season, then Liverpool took him out of the game with some cheap shots. He (and we) never really recovered from that. Too bad.

Rafa was a terrible appointment, but this current team is screaming for someone with his skills.

Joe Corgan
19 Posted 28/01/2023 at 02:23:57
He might be the best natural footballer we've ever had and he's certainly right about Benitez.

There is another side to this story though. How often was James “injured?” When he was on-form, he was magnificent. He did things I've never seen an Everton player do before. But, even when he wasn't injured, he so often didn't turn up. It's been a regular criticism throughout his career. His disinterest and a lack of work ethic.

His comments about Lampard coming in, winning some games and saving the club are pretty laughable though. Lampard's record was worse than Benitez's. It was arguably the decent early-season form that got us over the line in the end.

Looking at our squad right now, you do wonder where we'd be if we'd kept hold of him, Richarlison, Lukaku and one or two others. Impossible task, I know, but still gut-wrenching.

Gavin Johnson
20 Posted 28/01/2023 at 02:57:34
James was usually the best player on the pitch whenever he played for us. Best player since Kanchelskis for me.
Geoff Lambert
21 Posted 28/01/2023 at 03:35:15
Just wish I could have seen him play at Goodison. A class above.
Steve Brown
22 Posted 28/01/2023 at 05:19:03
Proof if it is required about what a disaster Benitez was for this club.

But, we have been getting rid of talent for years.

We have sold or released Lukaku, Stones, Sigurdsson, Kean, Richarlison and James. And then squandered the £200+ million in transfer fees and additional wages saved on utter dross.

Justin Doone
23 Posted 28/01/2023 at 05:22:57
A great player, in a way too good for us because there was no-one else on his wavelength.

Unfortunately, if true, he had to go because we can't and should not be paying players that level of salary.

Gutted not to witness him play at Goodison in real life but he certainly made my TV brighter.

He was so right about the wrong decision to hire Rafa and yet Moshiri and Co believe they (the board) are fit for purpose and are doing a wonderful job. Here we go again...

Sean Roe
24 Posted 28/01/2023 at 05:35:22
Dave @ 5,

Probably the most likely reason that you state but because it was under the reign of Benitez, it is all his fault.

If it happened under Lampard, it would have been the fault of the board no doubt. It amazes me sometimes how swiftly the blame can be shifted.

Ernie Baywood
25 Posted 28/01/2023 at 06:18:52
Incredibly talented and I was in awe of the things he did. I don't remember a more talented player at Everton.

Just remember, for a while there we had James Rodriguez and were managed by Carlo Ancelotti.

Maybe that's one of the problems. But it was fun to dream a little bit.

Now we will have Dyche and Dwight McNeil.

Danny O’Neill
26 Posted 28/01/2023 at 07:20:24
I've said on countless times Ernie, it was similar to Peter Beardsley. Different wavelength to the players around him. We got more frustrated with the other players because we could see what he was trying to do.

I loved watching James play for Everton. True quality that we had been lacking and now lack, even if he couldn't play a full season. I just wish a lot of Evertonians could have witnessed him in the flesh as they would have really appreciated how good a player he was.

A high percentage of players don't play every match in the modern game. Our problem is that we have a paper thin squad when it comes to genuine quality. We have had for years and I've regularly griped about it.

City could probably put two teams out that could compete for trophies and European football. They rotate because of injuries and because they can.

We have good players, but when we scratch the surface of the 12-14, we are down to the bones and untried kids.

We complained because possibly the only true top quality footballer we signed since Kanchelskis, couldn't play every game. Not his fault that the squad was a result of years of poor and reckless investment.

But then Lukaku, the first real genuine goal scorer we'd had in years was moaned at because he didn't chase back and had a poor touch apparently. He scored goals though. Something we would crave for now.

Give me both of those players right now and I bite your hand off. And I know some don't like mentioning him, but how much have we missed Sigurdsson?

Rodriguez, Lukaku and Sigurdsson. I'll throw an ageing Allan into the mix because he was a talented footballer even though we only saw his declining last days due to the legs going.

Ancelotti. Serial and proven winner if you give him the tools.

We are on a different level now. The wrong one.

We threw the dice. We got it wrong and messed up. Now we have Dyche. Some will be content with that. I'm not as anti as I was with Allaydyce, but not my choice. But what choices did we have? Let's give the man a chance. He is in control of the team that I have unreserved passion and commitment for, so I want him to succeed.

Like Benitez, regardless of opinion, we go with it because we want our team and OUR club to win. Make us happy and send us home feeling good some of the time.

See you at the next one blues. Three points against Arsenal and then off to face Lucifer's Children in the Devils Cauldron.

Ray Roche
27 Posted 28/01/2023 at 08:58:18
Joe @9,

"He was in a private jet or with bikini babes on his yacht."

You say that like it's a bad thing!

How we could do with someone like James with his vision and skills now!!!

Rob Dolby
28 Posted 28/01/2023 at 08:59:49
Danny @26, I agree with all of that.

A common theme on this thread is people pointing out his wages.

What wages should a player be on who has won just about every domestic trophy available plus the World Cup golden boot?

If we signed Harry Kane or Neymar tomorrow, how much in wages would they demand?

If you go to the car showroom and want to buy a Rolls-Royce you pay Rolls-Royce money.

James was miles ahead of the other players in the team. He only ever trusted passing it to Sigurdsson.

Gordon wanted £100k a week.
Mina is on over £100k a week
Bernard was on over £100k a week
Tarkowski is on £90k a week
Mauphy in on £60k a week?
Rondon was on £40k a week?

It's all relative, isn't it?

Darren Hind
29 Posted 28/01/2023 at 09:06:12

"You say that like it was a bad thing."

I think you just said what most of us were thinking. What else are you going to do if you're injured or the twat manager won't give you a game?

Ray Roche
30 Posted 28/01/2023 at 10:31:16
Darren, believe me, it's not all it's cracked up to be you soon tire of it.
Brent Stephens
31 Posted 28/01/2023 at 10:38:09
That's why I got rid of mine, Ray - well, just the jet and yacht.
Jason Li
32 Posted 28/01/2023 at 10:42:41
If Gordon goes, nothing to stop bringing James back. Impossible?

If he plays 10 games then there's no relegation fears.

That control and volley against Utd away tells us this is a world class technician on the ball like Messi and Ronaldo, and he's still happy to play for Everton

Ray Roche
33 Posted 28/01/2023 at 10:48:11
I believe you Brent.
Dave Abrahams
34 Posted 28/01/2023 at 10:57:35
Rob (28),If you buy a Rolls Royce you don’t expect it to brake down every other week or refuse to start without any real reason,when it runs smooth t’s brilliant but when it just stops and refuses to start again in the middle of an important run you get a bit browned off with it and the manager of the showroom where you bought it just shrugs his shoulders and refuses to fix it and hands the problem over to another manager who knows the score with it and gets rid of it because it really is too costly to run, and when he tried to get rid of this fantastic Rolls Royce he found out that nobody wanted it, the same as when it was bought nobody else but the one who bought it was interested, I wonder why?
Christine Foster
35 Posted 28/01/2023 at 13:13:26
Once Ancelotti went and Benitez came in, there was zero chance of him staying even if he wanted to.
He was told on the very first day by Benitez who obviously had pre agreed it with the board. In fact it was done to send a message to every player, how tough the manager is. Kill two birds with one stone.
His wages for his first season were subsidised 50% by RM, the second year it was all going to fall on Everton. Remember like Bernard, he cost nothing up front. FFP was just an excuse by the board to justify getting rid of an expense, one player the new manager didnt want.
James did himself no favours with his high profile, but when your manager says your finished and wont be picked no matter what, he checked out.
with respect to him as a player, he was a creator we havent seen the like of for years. short bursts of the highest creative quality. Truly in a different class to anyone before or current, spin by the club to offload, a manager who wanted to get rid.. made it personel..
Steve Brown
36 Posted 28/01/2023 at 13:34:04
James played 23 games for Everton that season, scoring 6 goals and 4 assists..

This season, Calvert-Lewin, Gordon and Gray have contributed 9 goals and 1 assist between them.

Do the maths.

Fran Mitchell
37 Posted 28/01/2023 at 13:46:06
Indeed, Steve, and those stats don't include the numerous 'pre-assists' that he contributed. The number of times his passes would put Digne or Richarlison through, for them to be able to cross into the box.

His vision was incredible.

James Marshall
38 Posted 28/01/2023 at 13:46:47
Best player Everton have had in my time supporting the club, and I turn 50 this year. At a time when we had James & Ancelotti at the club, and Everton managed to do their best to fuck it up - unforgiveable management by the board.

James Rodriguez was by far the most talented player I've seen play for us (Rooney was good but he was 18 then 30something so we missed his top years), and that is also one of the biggest regrets for all Evertonians - having never had the chance to see him light the place up. Goodison would have been in raptures watching this kid play.

Yeah he might have not been arsed some of the time, and yeah he might have been injured a lot, and yeah he might have spent a bit of time on fancy yachts with women in bikinis, but isn't that what a superstar is meant to do? You can't really have it both ways and I for one applaud him for not really giving a fuck, and letting it all hang out.

I think society has become so downtrodden and fearful of anyone with any sort of maverick spirit, that we squash it before it has a chance to breathe - and that's one of the reasons football has become so bland. Personality, the ability to thrill and infuriate in equal measure has all but been removed from the game as I see it.

James was an absolute joy to watch, and sport is entirely about bringing joy to people.

Clive Rogers
39 Posted 28/01/2023 at 13:52:59
Steve, that’s 3 goals and 1/3 of an assist each. Or is that not what you meant?
Sam Barrett
40 Posted 28/01/2023 at 14:12:01
Best player in my 50 years of support, and I never got to see him in the flesh. I would take him back in a heartbeat.
Rob Dolby
41 Posted 28/01/2023 at 14:14:41
Dave @34,

We bought him knowing his injury record. Nobody expected him to play 40 games a season but we all knew when fit we had a match-winner in the team. Someone to excite and get you on the edge of your seat.

Every decent team needs a couple of Ferraris and Rolls-Royce type players to make the difference. Currently we have a team full of Ford Fiestas.

Kieran Kinsella
42 Posted 28/01/2023 at 14:23:23
The wages were unaffordable but as Rob points out they're all out of whack. Rondon shouldn't have been paid at all. We should maybe let people like him volunteer and help them get fit and eventually if they prove themselves after a year or two give them a basic contract.

Tom Davies types we should give a very basic living wage like 500 quid a week. But outside of training give them on the job training in other areas of the club. Like teach them some basic office skills, filing etc. Spend some time in the laundry room. Mow the lawns etc to gain some work skills for later life. Then save the big money for the proper players.

Karen Mason
43 Posted 28/01/2023 at 14:36:44
Dave at 14.
Because of who that pass was against & what it led to!!
Worth Every feckin' penny!
We've spent faaaar more money with no return worth celebrating like that game & goal.
Dave Abrahams
44 Posted 28/01/2023 at 14:39:00
Rob (41),Surely it was a very poor signing by Ancelotti because he knew the player inside out, injury record, not performing even when he was fit, temperament and huge ego, ridiculous wages, was there a transfer fee? and still decided to sign him.

Yes he got me off my seat a few times applauding his ability but had me deriding his poor attitude just as many times on and off the field.

Give me a player who is consistently good rather than a player who might have a great game now and again: but each to their own Rob, we’d never agree about Rodriguez except on his good days!!

Dave Abrahams
45 Posted 28/01/2023 at 14:50:11
Karen (43), I expected you to reply like you did so fair enough, I never argue with a lady, been married a long time, only won one argument with her and learned my lesson, never tried to win another one it wasn’t worth it.

Nevertheless I might be having the last word with you Karen, although I doubt it, how much would the goals,Duncan Ferguson, Tim Cahill and Andy King scored against Liverpool, be worth if your man’s one pass was worth £10M?

Michael McFarlane
46 Posted 28/01/2023 at 16:59:02
So... pay Rodriguez £200k a week, see real quality cut open opposition defenses, win more games and be mid-table-ish


Get rid of him, incur transfer fees and wages on sub-average replacements, and be ina relegation battle. Our finances are opaque so, who knows, the total costs may have even netted out even

Keeping Rodriguez would get my vote by a country mile

My pocket would not be affected one bit... I don't know why people go on about the money (it's up to the club CFO to manage FFP)... good luck to him on his boat with the ladies... as long as he's doing the business on the pitch, who cares

Tony Hill
47 Posted 28/01/2023 at 22:28:30
James @38, Rooney aged 17 was better than James by a considerable margin. We forget how utterly astonishing that young man was; we've talked about the 0-0 Bolton game on here quite a bit but it remains the single best performance by an Everton player that I have ever seen.

What James did possess, which Rooney did not, was a footballing grace and elegance of the sort which many of us still think should lie at the heart of our club.

Peter Jones
48 Posted 29/01/2023 at 16:15:39
With him still around I don't think we'd have had to go through 2 consecutive relegation battles. Best player we've had in decades.
Kevin Molloy
49 Posted 29/01/2023 at 16:24:18
wonderful wonderful player, but we were almost literally playing with ten men when we didn't have the ball, and that became more and more of an issue. Teams targeted that flank relentlessly, getting more and more joy. Benitez came in and did a dirty job well, forcing out a player on crazy wages.
what a player though. That goal against West Brom where he hardly seemed able to get any leverage but it thundered into the corner of the net out of nothing. Magic.
Will Mabon
50 Posted 29/01/2023 at 16:38:11
Kevin, for all the obvious skill, I was really impressed by his reading of the game.

Several times when the opposition had the ball at the back or in midfield, he'd gently trot to and hold a strange position near and behind an opposition player not near the ball. A couple or more passes later the ball would come to that player and he'd sneak in and rob it.

One time I think, was against West Brom in the centre circle, you'll see it unfold if you ever watch the game back.

It was like he could see 10 seconds ahead.

Tony Abrahams
51 Posted 29/01/2023 at 16:55:32
Unbelievable Rooney, that day Tony, absolutely incredible, but only for him, I don’t think we would have ever had to endure the boring Bill Kenwright, era.

Rooney gave us incredible fleeting moments, but he gave Bill Kenwright, the cheque that enabled him to stay at Everton, then lower expectations, then cease existing to win, and then even rejoice at becoming best of the rest.

Wayne Rooney being allowed to leave Everton, was one of the most disastrous moments in our clubs history, an unprecedented moment if you like, considering his talent, his deep-rooted Evertonian roots, and his age. His sale however gave our chairman, some good times.

What a deceitful man you are William Kenwright, definitely a player of the highest order.

Kevin Molloy
52 Posted 29/01/2023 at 16:58:18
yes, the more I've watched football I prefer watching players do things without the ball rather than fancy skills with it. Gareth Barry was the past master at it, just knowing where to stand, when to move it's so great to see a great player using that experience to affect a game like that
Christine Foster
53 Posted 29/01/2023 at 17:12:50
Will, have you ever watched a game where you see a pass., a run, several plays before the ball is in the net even and you knew there was a goal going to be scored? Watching James you could see it time and time again, he played as though he was playing chess, several moves ahead. I remember thinking when Dick van Dyke went through the back of him that players with outstanding skill are always hacked down by so called hard men, they aren't hard, they are dirty. I remember watching Pele as a youngster at Goodison, get kicked off the pitch. James was no Pele, but even in today's game, sly, dirty nasty bits of work are still used to stop the likes of him.
Truth is we lost him because of managed spin by the club, exaggerated claims and innuendo about his lifestyle and wages. Sacrificial lamb served up by Benitez. Ironic that the best most skillful player the club has had since the 60s, was pushed out immediately by an ex rs manager as his first decision on joining the club. Call yourself an evertonian Bill Kenwright? Shame on you.
Christine Foster
54 Posted 29/01/2023 at 17:14:59
Tony you got there before me as I was thinking the same thing...
Will Mabon
55 Posted 29/01/2023 at 17:19:10
Kevin - agreed, and you're right about Barry. Covered so much and barely ran above a trot.

Tony - I still maintain that if things had turned out slightly differently (with the private life and so on), there was another Maradona or more in Rooney. He got pretty close as it was - a staggering talent.

Will Mabon
56 Posted 29/01/2023 at 17:25:37
Christine, yes! I've seen that plenty. It can be perceived but not framed and expressed.

If only that could be bottled, trained, repeated reliably.

Perhaps that's the real magic, where the sum is more than the parts, and the football gods decide when to drip it into the play...

Christine Foster
57 Posted 29/01/2023 at 17:40:07
Will it's when all the bits start dropping just right, position, a pass, a run, you know from the first pass several passes before a goal..I wonder why, or how, that is?

It's never talked about, ever, it's a sort of intuition you have.. like a safe cracker opening a safe when all the tumblers align..

Danny O’Neill
58 Posted 29/01/2023 at 17:41:31
Some interesting debate on here regarding Rodriguez and best Everton players in people's memory.

For me and in no particular pecking order, Southall, Kanchelskis, Rooney, only we didn't see enough of him before we sold him, and Rodriguez, who we also didn't see enough off.

You know who my number one is but I won't name him!

Will Mabon
59 Posted 29/01/2023 at 17:55:31

long-learned, tuned intuition I suppose. Eerie.

Alas the process works when we're about to concede too, same thing but with that feeling of slow-motion dread...

Will Mabon
60 Posted 29/01/2023 at 17:58:52
Danny this could morph into one of those threads.

Kanchelskis very good, Southall - the best.

Danny O’Neill
61 Posted 29/01/2023 at 18:02:46
The Welsh Irishman Will. There will never be anyone else for me.
Tony Abrahams
62 Posted 29/01/2023 at 18:04:09
I must have asked at least 100 people, a few of them Man Utd fans, did they ever remember Rooney, smashing into the back of Messi, to try and stop a Barcelona breakaway during a champions league final.

The ball to Messi had just gone out of play when Rooney suddenly smashed him in his back, and when Messi turned around to remonstrate (why did you do that, it was already out of play) and saw it was Wayne Rooney, Messi ran away shaking his head, and clapping his hands, whilst probably thinking, “why have United got their best player chasing back like a lunatic?”

That’s how I read it anyway, but nobody can ever remember it, so nobody can agree or disagree with me.

Alex Ferguson turned Turk on Rooney, a player who often sacrificed his own personal talent for his team, and I’ve never been able to understand why

Will Mabon
63 Posted 29/01/2023 at 18:22:12
Tony, have to say... I don't remember either!

There's something to the thoughts you impute to Messi.

Rooney was too good at too many roles, too useful and too strong, just too complete a player. Ferguson couldn't resist. I saw a team mate, I think Scholes, saying that in training, Rooney was as good in any position as the holder of the role. Apparently the best 'keeper aside from the actual 'keepers too!

Kevin Molloy
64 Posted 29/01/2023 at 18:27:12
Regardless of the club hawking him round, I'll always detest Rooney for taking his wares down the M62. Unforgivable.
Colin Glassar
65 Posted 29/01/2023 at 18:30:39
Not to worry. £40m for Antonio, Fraser and Arnautovic and we’ll be top 6…. In the championship next season.
Tony Abrahams
66 Posted 29/01/2023 at 18:33:20
This is why I can’t understand why Rooney, has became a manager, Will, and think he would be much better out on the training ground every single day. I think Rooney, would be a natural coach, but they all want to be managers, now, for some unknown reason.
Will Mabon
67 Posted 29/01/2023 at 18:53:15
Agree, Tony - coaching for him, all day.

As we usually see in management, the better the player...

Maybe there'll be an exception one day.

Jim Bennings
68 Posted 30/01/2023 at 06:59:51
To be fair, Benitez wasn't managing us when James didn't bother turning up for that last home game against Wolves, when more fans were at the ground.

I don't think he was ever the most committed player so let's not go overboard on Rafa Benitez’s involvement here.

However, he was a hugely talented footballer that we badly miss, that much is true.

Billy Roberts
69 Posted 30/01/2023 at 21:20:32
Will @67
Zinedine Zidane, Johan Cruyff. Kenny Dalglish, Carlo Ancelotti,
Kendal, Clough, Guardiola, off the top of my head some great, some very good, and some good.

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