The absence of James Rodriguez in the match against him Leeds United, this Wednesday, he surprised the followers of Everton and also those of the Colombian player, who is in very good consideration for the coach Carlo Ancelotti.
James, after reappearing on January 1 as a pinch-hitter after overcoming a muscle injury, started Everton’s next three Premier League games. It is the first time that he goes to the bench and does not even enter the field: Ancelotti barely made three changes in the 1-2 victory.
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Without the Colombian on the court, Everton has had good results. This is the sixth game that he has played without him and the fifth in which he has won.
Ancelotti did not refer this time to the absence of the Colombian. But the Italian coach had been very upset by Everton’s performance in the last two games, which ended in a draw against Leicester (1-1, with a goal from James) and a defeat against Newcastle (0-1).
“The reaction after the loss to Newcastle was really good. We played very well in the first half. We were smart in the game in the second half, it was difficult because we gave up an easy goal, “Ancelotti said after the game. “The goal was to score three points today (Wednesday).”
On the day that James scored a goal against Leicester, Ancelotti defended him, but criticized the attitude of the rest of the team. But after the loss to Newcastle, the Italian was tough on the entire squad.
The absence of James, for now, ignites speculation: the first, that he was one of those punished by the defeat. This Wednesday, Ancelotti made four changes. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane, Seamus Coleman and James came out. Goalkeeper Robin Olsen, Mason Holgate, Ben Godfrey and André Gomes entered.
All the modifications were in defensive positions, as Gylfi Sigurdsson, in the game against Newcastle, acted in the first line of midfielders. This time he was later in the position of James.
In addition, Ancelotti hinted at the post-match press conference that he was looking for players with different characteristics than those that James can give him: “We knew that they play at such a high rate and it is different from what you play most weeks . We had to match them man for man, win our individual battles, and the rest will take care of itself, ”he explained.
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The second, that he was taking care of him for a couple of very strong fouls he received in the game against Newcastle. And the third, that he was taking care of him for a key game, on Saturday, against Manchester United, in which the team wants to fight for a place in international tournaments.