After Everton’s Florida Cup victory, Rafa Benitez says of James Rodriguez, “Nobody can argue.”

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After Everton’s Florida Cup victory, Rafa Benitez says of James Rodriguez, “Nobody can argue.”

Rafa Benitez claims that “nobody can disagree” 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 close the door on his Goodison career.

“It’s not easy at the start of the preseason,” Benitez stated.

“I believe you can see he’s got the ability on the ball, but his fitness isn’t where we’d like it to be, so it’s understandable at this point.

“So we’ll see, obviously, we’ll have more training sessions and games, so we’ll see how he and the other players are doing.

“It is up to them whether or not they can make a difference.

“But for the time being, it’s about observing how they progress and how they can improve, but no one can deny James’ quality.”

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