Benitez casts doubts on James Rodriguez's Everton future

Everton midfielder James Rodriguez faces an uncertain future at the club, with manager Rafa Benitez saying that the Colombian international was part of his plans until August 31 when the transer window closes.

FILE PHOTO: The 30-year-old Rodriguez has been linked with a switch to Italian side AC Milan.   -  Pool via Reuters

Everton midfielder James Rodriguez faces an uncertain future at the Premier League club, with manager Rafa Benitez saying on Friday that the Colombian international was part of his plans until August 31 when the transer window closes.

Rodriguez missed Everton's opening 3-1 home win over Southampton last weekend as he was isolating due to COVID-19 regulations, with Benitez stating that he hoped to find the 'best solution' for the team and the player.

British media have linked the 30-year-old with a switch to Italian side AC Milan.

READ: City keen to put opening day loss behind against Norwich; Liverpool faces Dyche's Burnley at home

"A lot of speculation. We have to work with the players that are here. Until August 31, yes, he's in my plans," Benitez told a news conference ahead of Saturday's trip to Leeds United.

"Hopefully he'll be fine for next week and he can carry on with training sessions, and we can see what happens until the end of the transfer window."

Benitez said striker Moise Kean, another player linked with a move away from the Merseyside club, was available after missing the game against the Saints.

"Still we have some issues. It's not just two to three days. Kean for example was coming back so we have some new faces but still some problems," Benitez added.

READ: Bruce asks Newcastle players to avoid social media after Willock abuse

Benitez also said Everton has signed 37-year-old goalkeeper Andy Lonergan on a deal until the end of the season after teenager Harry Tyrer suffered a quadriceps injury in training, with Everton's Portuguese Joao Virginia set for a loan move.

The Spaniard expects a tough test from Leeds, who was thrashed 5-1 by Manchester United in its opener.

"Marcelo Bielsa's teams are intense, they run a lot. We have to manage that, match their intensity - and, at the same time, we have to play well," Benitez said.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :