When James Rordriguez signed for Everton and very much hit the ground running, there was great excitement in Colombia. Carlo Ancelotti had found the recipe to get the most out of the player, and it was all egg on the face for Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid, who had let him leave for nothing.
Everton started to be covered on a daily basis by the Colombian sport media, who were thrilled at the prospect of two of their compatriots, Yerry Mina and James, impressing in the Premier League. Hype was at its greatest when Everton were top of the league, and there was even talk of a title challenge in this disjointed season of football.
Now they’re down to seventh, with the four clubs below them having games in hand, and it all comes at the same time as Colombia’s national team goes through a crisis. Marca Claro report the the national side is a ‘selection in depression’ and not just when together.
In the recent international break, Colombia lost 3-0 to Uruguay and then 6-1 to Ecuador, making qualification difficult for the next World Cup.
Marca Claro state Mina has been benched by Ancelotti, and James has faced the physical force of English football, leaving him struggling to be fully fit. They pass the responsibility to the player and say James must ‘find a new formula’ to succeed for Everton, and ‘assume the leadership’ he was signed for.
Making it clear they expect big things, at club and national level, Marco Claro insist James needs to realise what ‘differentiates good players from legends’, and that’s taking the team on his back during difficult times.