When the Toffees signed the Colombian star last summer, it looked as though they could have a world-class player on their hands. However, just one season later, it seems as if Rodriguez is perhaps not the most content player within the club.
Despite this change in fortune, the 30-year-old looks set to be an Everton player for the short term at least, as the English transfer window has now slammed shut.
Unfortunately for Rodriguez, O’Keeffe believes the creative playmaker will not be afforded any special treatment from Benitez, and as a consequence, may find it hard to play very often this season.
Featuring as a guest on The All Together Now Everton Podcast, O’Keeffe explained himself, saying: “I think that the feeling is he doesn’t work back enough, he doesn’t track back enough.
“It feels sometimes like playing with 10 men when he’s in the team. And we know from what Benitez is all about, that that’s not good enough.
“He wants 10 players, outfield players, who graft. Doesn’t matter how good you are, you’ve got to be prepared to put in a shift for the team. And I’m afraid, if he feels that James Rodriguez won’t do that, I can’t see him indulging him or using him for his undoubted ability.”
TIF Thoughts on James Rodriguez and Everton…
To this point, it certainly looks as though O’Keeffe’s theory is right. So far, in the club’s opening three Premier League games of the season, the 30-year-old has not featured once.
However, this of course, could be due to the fact that Rodriguez seemingly wanted to leave the club. With the window still open at that stage, Benitez may have hoped that not playing him could have forced a move.
But now the window has shut, the Colombian could be a more realistic option for his Spanish manager. With six league goals to his name last season, Rodriguez has shown glimpses of his quality in an Everton shirt, though only time will tell if he can show that class again.