Rafa Benitez believes that “nobody can argue” with James Rodriguez’s talent, but that the priority now is to get the Colombian back to full fitness.
In his first official friendly game as Everton manager, Benitez took charge of Rodriguez for the first 45 minutes against Millonarios in Orlando on Wednesday night.
Benitez insists it is “not easy” for any of his players at this time of the summer calendar, despite the Colombian playmaker’s struggles.
Rodriguez is thought to have been warned that if a good offer is made, he can leave Everton this summer, but when asked following the Blues’ penalty shoot-out victory, Benitez refused to comment on his Goodison career.
“At the beginning of the pre-season, it is not easy,” Benitez said.
“I think you can see he has the quality on the ball but still his fitness is not what we are expecting, so it is normal at this time.
“So we will see, obviously, we have more training sessions and more games so we will see how he is going on and every player.
“It depends on them if they can make a difference or not.
“But at the moment it is seeing how they progress and how they can improve but nobody can argue about the quality of James.”