The subject of Everton’s James Rodríguez status for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifies and Copa América continues to be a controversy.
Upon arriving in Colombia, fitness levels revealed that the 29-year-old didn’t meet the standard to compete at a high level. The Everton midfielder would state he feels healthy to compete, and The Toffees’ recent statement reveals that they believe Rodríguez can compete this summer.
“It was a very small injury at the end of the season, and we had no issues at all with James joining up with Colombia,” Danny Donachie, Everton’s medical director, said.
“He was hoping to play in the two qualifiers [on June 4th and 9th], and the only discussion we had with the Colombian FA was whether that was a good idea or whether it would be more prudent to prepare him for the tournament.”
Furthermore, Donachie, stated that he was surprised by Colombia national team manager Reinaldo Rueda and his coaching staff to leave out Rodríguez from the squad.
“We decided collectively it would be better for him not to play in the two World Cup matches, then he would be absolutely ready for the start of the Copa America and able to play the entire tournament without any issues,” Donachie said. “I have seen the tests carried out by Colombia, and there is nothing in them to say he is not going to be fit for that competition.
“We agreed he would be fully fit, without any questions, for the start of the Copa America. We spoke about his rehab, and they agreed to continue the process, but there was never a doubt in our mind he would be in top condition in time for the tournament.”
Colombia will face Peru and Argentina in their World Cup qualifying fixtures before opening up the Copa América, which will now take place in Brazil, against Ecuador.
Once the international fixtures for Colombia are over, Everton expects to have Rodríguez in early July if the national team decides to proceed with its decision to leave the player out of the squad.