Everton outcast claims he is ‘ready’ to play if called upon

Everton midfielder James Rodriguez has said that he is “ready” to play if Rafa Benitez selects him for the Toffees’ match against Burnley on Monday evening.

The 30-year-old was free to leave Merseyside this summer but didn’t get a move away from the Premier League club.

His situation is a strange one, with the player himself admitting he did not have a clue what was going on in regards to his future.

However, it appears that there is a slim chance he could feature on Monday.

Addressing his fans on Twitch, Rodriguez said [via AS]: “I’ve been coming in for a couple of days now, I had four days off.

“I’m preparing myself in case I have to play, I’m ready to do well if I have to play. I’m getting in good shape physically, I’m fine. I’m calm.

“Everton play on Monday, if they want to take me I’m ready, I’m looking forward to playing if it’s my turn.

“I’m very happy because the Everton fans have shown me a lot of affection, if I get to play I’ll play well as always.”

Despite James’ eagerness to play, Benitez kept his cards close to his chest when asked about the Colombia midfielder’s potential inclusion against Burnley:

“He’s training with the team,” he said.

“Obviously we have been talking about his future and we had some clubs interested. He still is here, he’s training with the rest of his teammates.

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“Match fitness means that he has to play games, and he has to play games in a row. So, at the moment, I think that he’s a little bit behind the others.

“The team is doing well, the players understand what we want to do. He has to understand that.

“Then we have to try to bring the best from each player, in this case he has to adapt to the team and we will try to get the best from everyone.”

Benitez also admits the club’s good relationship with the Brazil Football Confederation will allow him to pick Richarlison to face Burnley on Monday.

The Toffees allowing the forward to play at the Olympic Games this summer looks to have paid off as he will not be subject to the same five-day ban FIFA are imposing on other Premier League clubs for not allowing their players to travel to South America for World Cup qualifiers.

“I think we are in a much better position than anyone because when we allowed him to go to the Olympic Games we were in contact with them (Brazilian FA),” said Benitez.

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