By Noel Whelan

11th Aug, 2021 | 11:03am

Pundit predicts 'awful' dressing room unrest at Everton after Rodriguez update

Negativity could spread through the Everton dressing room if James Rodriguez does not depart the club this summer.

So says ex-Premier League forward Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the 30-year-old Colombian playmaker.

The Daily Mail reported on 2 August that Rodriguez has been told he is free to leave Everton if a suitable offer is received in the current window.

Rodriguez has a year remaining on his Goodison deal after signing from Real Madrid just last summer.

But Whelan claims new Toffees boss Rafael Benitez would be best advised to bin the midfielder or risk dressing room unrest.

He told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “I think the problem when Ancelotti left was his commitment to the cause.

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“Everyone worries about that because he came as an Ancelotti player and he was expecting to play underneath him for two or three seasons.

“But obviously he’s left there and gone straight back to Real Madrid.

“Benitez has had enough time to see his character now and see his commitment to training and made an assumption.

“You’re making a rod for your own back keeping a player who doesn’t want to be there. It’s bad for the dressing room because that negativity can spread.

“I’ve been there, and it can be awful for the group. It’s not a fun environment to be in when not everybody is singing from the same hymn sheet.

Rodriguez featured 25 times in his debut season for Everton last term.

Those appearances yielded six goals and nine assists.

In other news, Everton slash asking price for Jonjoe Kenny as new swoop for new right-back lined up.