By Gabriel Agbonlahor

16th Aug, 2021 | 5:00pm

Benitez backed after Rodriguez reportedly told he can leave Everton - pundit

Gabby Agbonlahor claims Rafael Benitez is right to sanction James Rodriguez’s potential Everton exit.

The former Aston Villa striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, reacted to the latest on the Colombian’s future.

On 1st August, the Liverpool Echo reported that Rafael Benitez has told Rodriguez he is free to leave if a suitable offer is received this summer.

Rodriguez, 30, has a contract that runs until next summer though the Toffees have the option to trigger a further year.

He only arrived from Real Madrid last summer and impressed in his debut Premier League season, scoring six goals and picking up five assists.

Agbonlahor insists Rodriguez’s reluctance to put the hard yards in is why Benitez is happy to see him go.

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“He’s definitely a good player,” Agbonlahor told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams.

“But there is always a change in style when you change managers.

“Rafa likes high energy on his wings and from his number 10, you won’t get that from Rodriguez.

“What he does have is the flair, the skills and he gets assists. But some managers want other attributes.

“Rafa will want wingers who can get back and defend, Demarai Gray is a bit like that, Rodriguez isn’t.

“The Premier League is the quickest league in the world, it’s high energy.

“If Rodriguez isn’t prepared to work, Rafa won’t keep him.”

Rodriguez missed Everton’s first game of the season as he was isolating.

The Blues ran out 3-1 winners against Southampton.

In other news, Phillips digs at once-great Everton star who’s ‘not the player he was’