Everton

The reintroduction of James Rodriguez to the Everton starting 11 following his injury recovery will be “massive,” according to Darren Bent. 

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-England, Spurs and Aston Villa striker was emphatic in his praise of the soon-to-return Colombian.

Bent has tipped the playmaker, who has missed Everton’s last two matches, against Leicester City and Arsenal respectively, to return to the team against Man United

Rodriguez joined Everton in the summer and wowed fans and pundits alike with his blister-hot start to life in the Premier League.

“The way that that guy started off the season, he was an absolutely on fire, they were talking about him as the best player in the Premier League at the time,” Bent told Football Insider.

“Everton were high flying, doing really well, then [Rodriguez] kind of lost his way a little bit.

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“People start to mark him a little bit closer, things get a little bit difficult. But listen, one thing we know about Rodriguez is the quality he possesses on the football, that is something you can’t take away from him.

“The fact that he potentially could be back for United is massive.

“I think Everton’s problem has been the strength and depth, we’ve said that before that they that they’ve lost when they lose a couple of key players they kind of fall off a cliff.

“But having him coming back and some of these others, I mean they’re still missing the two fullbacks, but once they get all their squad back, they’re gonna take some beating again Everton.”

Rodriguez limped off against Burnley earlier this month after being involved in all but one of Everton’s Premier League fixtures up until that point.

However, Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti says Rodriguez’s calf problem is only minor and he could be available for the midweek League Cup quarter-final against United.

In other news, Everton have made a decision on a Manchester United transfer target.