Michael Ball has called on James Rodriguez to stay at Goodison Park for one more season and not follow Carlo Ancelotti out of Everton.
James joined the Toffees from Spanish giants Real Madrid last summer, linking up with Ancelotti for a third time having previously played under the Italian at the Bernabeu and during a loan spell with Bayern Munich.
However, Ancelotti has left Everton in favour of a return to Real Madrid this summer, leading to doubts over James’ future on Merseyside.
Reports suggest new Toffees chief Rafa Benitez is open to allowing James to depart, with the club looking to get high-earners off the wage bill.
James’ £90,000-per-week contract still has 12 months to run, although there is an option to extend it by another 12 months.
Despite being restricted to just 26 appearances last term, former Everton full-back Ball hopes the 30-year-old will still be on the club’s books when the transfer window shuts at the end of next month.
Speaking exclusively to the Football FanCast, Ball said: “He’s such a fantastic talent and is head and shoulders the best player on the pitch every time he’s on there.
“But, unfortunately, he only seems to play when he is 110 per cent fit.
“He’s loved here and I’d love him to stay. I think the majority of Everton fans would love him to stay. We’d like him to stay one more year. If he carries on the form he showed last year and plays more games, the Everton fans would be really happy with that.”