‘I was pensive about James but he’s been excellent’ – Ex-Real midfielder praised for ‘big impact’ at Everton

The Toffees legend has been hugely impressed with the Colombian’s start to life at Goodison Park

Nigel Martyn has praised James Rodriguez for making a “big impact” at Everton, while admitting to being “pensive” over the “excellent” Real Madrid midfielder’s initial arrival at the club.

Everton forked out £22 million ($35m) to sign James from Madrid on September 7, ending his six-year stay at Santiago Bernabeu.

The Colombia international scored 37 goals in 125 games for the Blancos, winning two Liga titles and two Champions League crowns, but fell way down the squad pecking order after returning from a loan spell at Bayern Munich in the summer of 2019.

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He jumped at the chance to reunite with former Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti at Goodison Park, and has since helped the Toffees climb to the top of the Premier League.

James has contributed three goals and three assists to Everton’s cause in his first six top-flight outings, impressing with his superb passing range and guile in the final third.

Martyn wasn’t sure the ex-Madrid star was going to fit in on Merseyside at first, but has been pleasantly surprised by the playmaker’s swift adjustment to English football.

“The addition of Rodriguez, from the outside, I was a bit pensive,” the former Toffees goalkeeper told HITC. “Great player, great World Cup, going to Real Madrid, perhaps he would have been hoping to go to a bigger club so you often worry about that type of signing.

“The things that I’m looking for is chasing back, lost possession and then didn’t just stay where he was and wait for somebody else to do his work, he was working back as well, which shows he’s keen to find a new home.

“His start has been excellent, he’s created, he’s scored. When he performs, he will be looked up to be those players. That’s been a big impact on the club.”

Martyn also praised another of Everton’s summer signings, Allan, who has added steel to Ancelotti’s side in the middle of the park since moving to Goodison Park from Napoli.

“I like Allan. Goes under the radar but breaks up a lot of play, doing a bit of the Lee Carsley role from my time there!” the Toffees legend added. “They’re the players other players appreciate a heck of a lot, they do a lot of the running, tackling, the nastier side of the game, the selfless running.

“He’s been really good; his passing is decent as well. He’s impressed me quite a lot. Midfield-wise, they look a stronger outfit than they were last year.”

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