Everton star James Rodriguez has hit out at his critics, insisting he is fitter than he has ever been in a long time.

Rodriguez has been heavily linked with a move away from Goodison Park this summer following Carlo Ancelotti’s return to Real Madrid.

Much of the talk around the midfielder has been regarding his fitness, which has been an issue for several years.

He missed big parts of last season for Everton due to niggling issues, something that developed into a big problem for the club and their fans when results took a downward turn.

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His fitness is also an issue for Colombia, who did not include him in their squad for the Copa America this summer.

That’s led to something of a running war of words between the Everton man and his critics, who have taken every opportunity to bash him when they can.

He’s now hit back at that, insisting that he and his fellow players deserve some respect from the media.

“I’m training hard; I feel very well, as I haven’t felt for a long time, and the only thing I want is to play and do well, here (at Everton) or wherever I play. People don’t know, but I always train well,” Marca report him saying.

“People think, talk and say a lot of things… but people don’t see me in my day-to-day life. When you’re in my house, talk, otherwise you have to shut up.

“This is a message to the press and to all the people that we players deserve respect.

“People in the press want to sell, and my name sells much more, it’s their job, and it’s respectable too, but it’s a call for sanity.”