When Rafa Benitez first stepped foot in Merseyside again, he wasn’t exactly greeted very nicely by some Everton supporters.
Therefore, the Spaniard needed to start quickly and impress from the off. The club’s transfer window wasn’t exactly a fair indication of what Benitez can do but their form has been superb.
Everton have taken seven points from their opening three league games but they do now have a problem on the cards.
That issue happens to revolve around James Rodriguez.
The Colombian looked a dead certainty to leave Goodison Park behind this summer and his lack of action in the opening few weeks of the season indicated that he was heading for the exit door.
Rodriguez hasn’t played a single minute of competitive action under the new manager but a move unfortunately fell through on deadline day.
Everton were confident of agreeing a swap deal with Porto to bring Luis Diaz to the club in exchange but Rodriguez ultimately didn’t move. His agent Jorge Mendes tried to engineer a move to Italy but he ended up staying in Merseyside.
Benitez has a dilemma on his hands now. Rodriguez has made his feelings clear and doesn’t exactly want to play for the Toffees again. He wasn’t even aware of who their opponents were a few weeks ago, for instance.
That being said, he clearly possesses immense talent. The former Real Madrid star contributed to ten Premier League goals last term and provided more key passes per match than anybody else in the Toffees’ squad.
However, their new signings look ready and raring to go. Demarai Gray has opened up his Everton account with two goals and a Player of the Month nomination after signing from Bayer Leverkusen.
Alongside Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, the Everton attack looks vibrant.
Add Anthony Gordon into the equation and their forward line could become even more mouth-watering.
The 20-year-old has very rarely started for the Everton first team, featuring on just 21 occasions since breaking through. That being said, he’s clearly in Benitez’s plans, with the youngster earning minutes from the bench against Southampton on the opening day of the season.
Possessing the ability to play behind the striker and on the flanks, he feels like a player who is more deserving of game time in Rodriguez’s role. Although he’s not scored a senior goal yet, the future is bright for Gordon.
Greg Cunningham, his teammate on loan at Preston last season, said that the youngster was set for an “exciting” career, while David Unsworth was even more complimentary.
Speaking to The Athletic, he commented: “His balance sprinting with the ball and his balance going past people is something you don’t see every day. He’s got unbelievable pace and he’s a Scouser too, so he’s tough.”
With a rare set of traits in Gordon’s armoury, Benitez would be foolish not to unleash him.