Darren Bent admits he got it wrong over James Rodriguez after the playmaker’s impressive start to life at Everton.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Tottenham, Aston Villa and England striker has revealed he thought the 29-year-old would struggle to make the desired impact following his move from Real Madrid.
James has started all of the Toffees’ Premier League games so far and scored his first goal in the 5-2 win over West Brom.
He was also a constant thorn in the side of Crystal Palace in the 2-1 victory which kept up the club’s perfect start and launched Carlo Ancelotti’s men to the top of the table.
Bent admits he did not expect the Colombia star to make such an immediate impact and wonders if the lack of pressure at Goodison Park is helping him play at his best.
Bent told Football Insider: “Do you what it is with Rodriguez? I’ll hold my hands up, I was one of them that thought he would struggle in the Premier League.
“To be fair, this early part he hasn’t and I wonder if that’s because the kind of expectation is kind of off him. When you’re playing at those high-profile clubs like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, the spotlight is always on you.
“At Everton he’s kind of gone under the radar a little bit. Yeah, he’s a good player but people are like: ‘Yeah but it’s Everton, how far can we really expect them to go?’ I think that’s maybe a little bit disrespectful to them.
“When you look at the performances of Rodriguez and Everton this season, if they can continue this form – because they’ve been absolutely superb – and just hang around that top four, what a season that would be and what an addition that would be in James Rodriguez.”
Rodriguez played just 14 times for Real Madrid last season and managed to chip in with just one goal and two assists across all competitions.
The Toffees’ next league game sees them take on Brighton at home.
In other Everton news, Bent has ripped into a senior star after Ancelotti comments.