Carlo Ancelotti could face a frustrating few weeks after James Rodriguez was forced off with a calf injury during Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Manchester United.
That’s according to the Liverpool Echo, who note that the Toffees will assess the Colombian’s fitness ahead of Wednesday night’s FA Cup fifth round tie with Tottenham Hotspur.
Rodriguez was forced off the field in the 69th minute at Old Trafford after scoring his fifth goal of the season to draw the Blues level at 2-2, before strikes from Scott McTominay and Dominic Calvert-Lewin rounded out the action.
Ancelotti and Rodriguez discussed the issue on the sidelines immediately after the 29-year-old’s withdrawal, before Calvert-Lewin’s 95th-minute goal sealed a draw to stay eight points behind Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Red Devils but with two games in hand.
And, speaking after the Old Trafford affair, Ancelotti confirmed he decided to take Rodriguez off as a precaution.
“He had a problem on his calf at the end of the first-half,” the Italian said. “We tried [to play on in the second-half] for 10-15 minutes but the calf was tight.
“I prefer to take him off.”
Rodriguez was making his 14th start of the Premier League season against Manchester United, having been rested in midweek as Everton beat Leeds United 2-1 at Elland Road.
If further assessments reveal a significant injury for Rodriguez, it will leave Ancelotti facing a frustrating few weeks, having already been without his summer signing from Real Madrid for five games through injuries this term.
Rodriguez missed November’s 2-1 defeat to Newcastle United through a groin issue after playing through a slight problem against Southampton, after early fears suggested he would miss the Toffees’ 2-0 loss at St. Mary’s.
He immediately returned the fold the following week against Manchester United, but would only play three further games before sustaining a calf injury that would sideline the £31.5m-rated maestro for much of December.
Ancelotti will be gutted to lose the 29-year-old again after seeing Rodriguez score twice in his last three outings, having previously gone eight Premier League appearances without finding the back of the net following a sublime start to life at Goodison Park.
The Blues boss will be particularly frustrated to lose the 80-cap Colombia international now, as Everton face Spurs in the FA Cup on Wednesday night before upcoming top-flight affairs with Manchester City and Liverpool later this month.
The Toffees also face Ancelotti’s former employer, Chelsea, on March 3rd at Stamford Bridge, another game Everton would certainly prefer to have Rodriguez and his playmaking abilities available for.