Everton midfielder James Rodriguez was covertly impressive in Colombia’s World Cup qualifying win over Venezuela.
Rodriguez was making his first international appearance in more than year, as manager Carlos Queiroz handed the 29-year-old the captain’s armband in his 76th outing.
Queiroz had been unable to utilise Rodriguez in any of Colombia’s last six fixtures through a variety of injuries, with the midfielder sidelined for parts of his final year at Real Madrid nursing calf and medial collateral ligament issues.
Rodriguez was unable to influence the scoring on his return to international duty and remains without a goal for Colombia since his 22nd strike coming against the USA on October 12, 2018, while last assisting an effort when he penned his 25th assist against Qatar in June 2019.
Instead, goals from Duvan Zapata and Luis Muriel sealed a 3-0 win for Colombia over Venezuela, enough for Queiroz’s side to sit second to Richarlison’s Brazil in the CONMEBOL table ahead of facing Chile on October 14.
Rodriguez, who has started each of Everton’s four Premier League fixtures thus far this season, had opportunities to pen his name to an assist against Venezuela but failed to see either of his two key balls turned home, per SofaScore.
Rodriguez failed to register a single effort on goal during his 74 minutes on the field against Venezuela, but impressed nonetheless with a 100% dribble success rate having got the better of his marker with each of his three attempts.
The £28.8m-rated star further stood out with 76 touches, which he converted into 58 accurate passes from 63 attempts, whilst also creating one big chance to score, winning five of six ground duels and providing two crosses into the area although neither found a teammate.
Venezuela were forced into committing one foul against Rodriguez, who made one successful tackle and was never penalised for his attempts by referee Guillermo Guerrero.
Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti will be hoping Queiroz manages Rodriguez’s workload over the current international break, having impressed since his summer switch to Goodison Park with three goals, two assists and four big chances created in the Premier League to date.