By Kevin Phillips

18th Jul, 2021 | 12:01pm

Phillips: Benitez has made clear his stance over Rodriguez leaving Everton

Rafael Benitez may have dropped a major hint that James Rodriguez is no longer wanted at Everton.

That is according to ex-Premier League hitman Kevin Phillips, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after Benitez was coy when asked about the Colombian playmaker’s future in his first press conference as Everton boss.

Quoted by the Liverpool Echo on 14th July, Benitez said: “We don’t talk about individuals. It’s not fair for the other players.”

The Daily Mail reported in June that Rodriguez’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has offered the 30-year-old to multiple European clubs.

The 80-cap international signed a two-year deal when he joined Everton last September.

Phillips insists that Benitez’s refusal to answer questions relating to Rodriguez could be a death knell for his time at Goodison.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“It’s definitely a hint or a sign,” he told Football Insider‘s Dylan Childs.

“He doesn’t want to comment on it and I understand that managers don’t want to sometimes.

“But that’s almost a way of saying ‘He’s there, come and get him’ without actually having to say those words.

“Managers always like to make a statement and I think that might be his way of saying it judging by the way he’s answered that question.

“From my experience, that suggests that the player will be made available.

Rodriguez featured 26 times in all competitions for the Toffees last term.

Those appearances yielded six goals and nine assists as Everton finished 10th in the table.

In other news, finance expert Kieran Maguire claims Everton will be thrilled amid “unexpected” £27million development.