By Noel Whelan

19th Jul, 2021 | 11:00am

Pundit delivers definitive verdict on Rodriguez's Everton future after key reveal

Noel Whelan has tipped James Rodriguez to remain at Everton for at least one more season after Rafael Benitez refused to be drawn on the player’s future.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds United striker backed Benitez, 61, to get the “phenomenal” Colombia international on board with his project.

Rodriguez has been heavily linked with an exit from Goodison Park since Carlo Ancelotti joined Real Madrid last month.

Speaking at his first press conference on 14th July, Benitez remained coy on the future of the attacking midfielder.

As quoted by the Liverpool Echo, Benitez said “we don’t talk about individuals,” when quizzed about Rodriguez’s future.

When asked by Football Insider‘s Dylan Childs whether Rodriguez had played his last game for the Blues, Whelan said:

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“No, I don’t think he’s played his last game for Everton.

“I think the best man for the job is in charge there. Benitez can win players like Rodriguez around. His CV is fantastic, he is well respected in the game and he can get the top players in that dressing room onside, I’m sure.

“There is no reason why Benitez cannot get that same relationship going with Rodriguez. He is a player who is needed by the football club. He is under a contract, although we have seen that means very little nowadays, I expect him to be a part of things next season.

“You do not want to lose a player like Rodriguez. He has a phenomenal amount of ability.

“Everton will be looking to add a few rather than lose anyone. Benitez has a lot of work to do to win over the fans but a good start would be keeping Rodriguez at the club.”

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