Carlo Ancelotti’s creator-in-chief James Rodriguez could become a huge burden for Everton if he cannot continue to pull his weight offensively.
That is according to 106-goal former Premier League striker Darren Bent, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams after James’ return from injury earlier in the week.
The Colombian – signed from Real Madrid for a reported £20million in September – returned to the side as a 65th-minute substitute in the 1-0 defeat to West Ham United after missing the last four league matches with a calf problem.
In those four fixtures, Everton conceded just one goal – they faced Chelsea, Leicester City, Arsenal and Sheffield United in that time.
Some have speculated that there was a direct correlation between James’ absence from the side and Everton’s improved fortunes at the back, and Darren Bent believes there is some logic behind this theory given the 29-year-old’s near-total lack of defensive contribution.
“Ancelotti will have to weigh up whether he’s doing enough offensively with his defensive contribution,” he told Football Insider.
“We know he’s not a defensive player, that’s not what his strength is. When you sign players like that, you don’t sign them for their defensive qualities. Defensively, we know he might leave them a little bit short but they need to overcome that and move forward.
“The way the game’s changing, everyone’s contributing, everyone’s getting about, high -pressing, high-energy.
“These sorts of maverick players, they don’t really exist anymore because you can’t afford to be playing with ten men, especially with the energy and intensity of some teams, they’ll just keep on creating overloads all over the place.
“But if you are one of these players, like James, you need to contribute a lot to make up for it.”
Rodriguez’s arrival at Goodison Park was widely accredited to the pulling power of superstar boss Carlo Ancelotti.
And recent reports have linked them with two more men who won Champions League titles with Real Madrid, Isco and Sami Khedira.