By Gabriel Agbonlahor

9th Dec, 2020 | 4:00pm

Agbonlahor Exclusive: Opposition teams are targeting one Everton player

Gabriel Agbonlahor has called on Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti to play James Rodriguez in a number 10 role rather than as a winger.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley, the former Aston Villa and England striker claimed teams are starting to target the 29-year-old because he does not track back.

After scoring three goals and providing three assists in his first five Premier League games, Rodriguez has not contributed a goal or an assist in his last five appearances.

His baron run has coincided with the Toffees suffering a downturn in form – they have won just once in their last six fixtures.

“I think, for me, he needs to be put in the number 10 position,” Agbonlahor told Football Insider.

“When he’s playing on the right, clubs will target that. When I was playing, if there was a winger that didn’t like tracking back then you got the ball to that side of the pitch.

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“That’s what clubs will start doing because he’s not the sort of player that will track back and follow full-backs all the way back.

“He wants to be on the half-way line, on the ball and making things happen. Maybe it’s something that Ancelotti does, he changes the formation to play him as a number 10. It’s a lot easier to follow a defensive midfielder who is not going to run up the pitch than a full-back.

James is more suited to playing as a number 10 than as a winger.

“I’m sure he’ll want to play there as well. He won’t mind playing on the right but he doesn’t want to track back and use his energy that way.

“There are players like that. Mesut Ozil gets a lot of stick for not doing it but that’s the position he wants to play as well. In that number 10 role not tracking back.”

In other news, Kevin Phillips has tipped Everton to sign a loanee in January after a big development.