Alex McLeish has warned James Rodriguez he needs to up his performances for Everton after being silenced by Leeds United last weekend.
The former Premier League and Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, suggested that rivals had figured out how to keep the 29-year-old quiet after his blistering start to life in England.
Rodriguez scored twice and chipped in with three assists in his opening five top-flight appearances but has not been involved in a goal since.
He found opportunities limited against Leeds United as a late Raphinha strike condemned the Toffees to a 1-0 defeat, their fourth loss in five games.
McLeish has suggested teams have figured out how to keep the Colombia international quiet and insisted he needed to find a way to get back to the “spectacular” form he showed early doors.
The treble-winning former Ibrox manager told Football Insider: “You’ve probably got to give the opposition a bit of credit as well for keeping James a little bit quiet. Teams have obviously done their homework.
“You can’t just say he’s off the boil a wee bit, it’s more that the others are saying: ‘Right, we need to stop Rodriguez and then we can make a big dent in Everton’s armoury.’ They’re not quite the final package, Everton, but we know Ancelotti’s a superb coach, manager, and you would think that he’ll make further progress at Everton.
“I think the early expectations because they were four out of five in terms of the stats, then everybody would expect Everton to challenge for the league. We know there’s teams trying to get on their tail, teams trying find their levels of consistency, Manchester City for instance.
“It’s an absolutely bizarre situation we’re in with no crowds, some teams are excelling, Everton, it suited them early doors but now they have to find a way and James has to find a way if he’s going to get close attention, use his spectacular skills and make things happen for Everton.
“He’s got the skills individually to make a movement or to make a pass but he’s got to keep raising the bar for himself.”
In other Everton news, a Football Insider pundit has dropped a big transfer claim after talking to Marcel Brands.