James Rodriguez oozes class for Everton but his lack of work off the ball is a “big issue” for Carlo Ancelotti.
That is according to former Premier League star Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider ahead of Everton’s fifth-round FA Cup meeting with Tottenham this evening.
The Colombian playmaker is an injury doubt for the tie after picking up a knock in Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Manchester United.
Before he was forced to withdraw, the 29-year-old made a goalscoring return to the starting XI after being omitted by the manager for the previous 2-1 win over Leeds.
And Whelan thinks Ancelotti is right to take Rodriguez on a game-by-game basis in this manner as there are some matches in which he will flourish more than others.
He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “He made the right decision not playing him against Leeds, but in the Man United game he was excellent. The goal that he scored just oozed class. Left foot on the volley, with style, over the ball.
“He’s one of these players that I love to see on the ball. He’s very effective on the ball but I just wonder, can he do the hard work off the ball as well? That’s the biggest issue.
“When they left him out against Leeds, that was the right decision. But when you’re playing against Man United, these big players seem to rise to the occasion, they love the big stage.”
Rodriguez played for Envigado and Banfield in South America before moving to Porto in 2010.
He later spent a single season with Monaco before moving to Real Madrid for £71m in July 2014, spending two years out on loan with Bayern Munich during his time with Los Blancos.