Former England international Rob Lee has been discussing the form of Everton playmaker James Rodriguez.
Rodriguez re-joined Carlo Ancelotti, who previously managed him at both Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, in the summer transfer window when he made the move to Goodison Park from the Santiago Bernabeu and got off to a positive start at the Merseyside club, providing seven goal contributions in his first six games for the Toffees – and earning WhoScored’s Man of the Match award in two of his first five Premier League games for Everton.
However, the £31.5m-rated Colombia international hasn’t provided a single goal contribution in any of his last five top-flight appearances, and speaking exclusively to This Is Futbol, Lee has offered an explanation as to why that is, saying:
“I think James Rodriguez, what you have to do, is allow him to do what he wants, basically. He’s that sort of player where you have to, you know, we had David Ginola in our [Newcastle United] team in the ‘90s and we knew that you had to allow him to do what he wants.
“You play Rodriguez wide, you’ve got to realise that he ain’t going to come back and help the full-backs as much as somebody else should. We had the same thing with David Ginola, but he can win you games.
“I just think he just needs to be one of these players that is allowed to roam and you build your team around him – as soon as you get the ball, can we get it to him? Because he’ll create something.
“I think they [did] that at the start of the season but I think with the full-backs, again, the full-backs being missing and him having to protect the other full-backs a little bit, I think we lost a little bit of what he does, and that’s why he hasn’t been as effective as he was in the first few games.”
Does James Rodriguez remind you of David Ginola?
Coleman has been sidelined for six of the Toffees’ last seven Premier League games – the same period of time in which Rodriguez has not scored or provided an assist.
So, perhaps you could argue that the partnership that the 29-year-old developed with Coleman on the right wing was the biggest reason for his impressive early-season form and, as Lee suggested, the right-back’s injury has played a significant role in the playmaker becoming less effective in recent games, as he’s seemingly been finding it difficult to reproduce that form without Coleman.