By Gabriel Agbonlahor

8th Sep, 2021 | 4:33pm

Rodriguez tipped to push for Everton exit in January after Athletic's punishment reveal

Gabby Agbonlahor has tipped James Rodriguez to push for an Everton exit if he does not get back into the team before January.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Aston Villa and England attacker insisted Rodriguez will not accept being on Rafa Benitez’s bench.

The Athletic reported on September 6 Benitez will not punish the attacking midfielder for not leaving this summer.

The Spaniard reportedly wanted to offload the 30-year-old in the summer to allow the club to bring in Porto’s Luis Diaz.

However, Rodriguez was not willing to compromise on his £200,000-a-week wages and therefore a move to Porto or AC Milan did not materialise.

The Colombia icon has not featured in a matchday squad under Benitez this season.

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Asked whether there was a way back at Goodison for James, Agbonlahor told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “It’s hard.

“It all depends on what the manager is thinking. We don’t know what Benitez is thinking. He might be thinking ‘He’s not part of my plans’. But he could think ‘If he gets fit, he might be part of my plans’.

“It all depends on what Benitez is thinking.

“I’m sure James Rodriguez will not want to sit on the bench. If he’s on the bench, he’s going to want to play as a starter as he has done for most of his career.”

Rodriguez followed Carlo Ancelotti to Goodison Park last summer and enjoyed a fine start to his Blues career.

He scored six times and provided five assists in 23 Premier League games last term, including 21 starts.

In other news, Everton have been tipped to sign at least two new players after source’s £9m reveal.